Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Fermentation with Yeast

Figure from experiment 11 from Investigating Biology through Inquiry


Yeast can metabolize sugar in two ways, aerobically, with the aid of oxygen, or anaerobically, without oxygen. When yeast metabolizes a sugar under anaerobic conditions, ethanol (CH3CH2OH) and carbon dioxide (CO2) gas are produced. An equation for the fermentation of the simple sugar glucose (C6H12O6) is:

Cannot create image: \text{C}_{6}\text{H}_{12}\text{O}_{6} \rightarrow \text{2 } \text{CH}_{3}\text{CH}_{2}\text{OH} + \text{2 } \text{CO}_{2} + \text{energy}

The metabolic activity of yeast can be determined by the measurement of gas pressure inside the fermentation vessel.


In this Preliminary Activity, you will use a Gas Pressure Sensor to monitor the pressure inside a conical tube as yeast metabolizes glucose anaerobically. When data collection is complete, you will perform a linear fit on the resultant graph to determine the fermentation rate.

After completing the Preliminary Activity, you will first use reference sources to find out more about sugar fermentation by yeast before you choose and investigate a researchable question dealing with fermentation. Some topics to consider in your reference search are:

  • sugars
  • glucose
  • monosaccharides
  • disaccharides
  • fermentation
  • anaerobic respiration
  • aerobic respiration
  • yeast
  • enzyme
  • substrate
  • enzyme inhibitor

Sensors and Equipment

This investigation features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Investigating Biology through Inquiry

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Buffer Investigations
3Investigating Osmosis
4Chemistry of Membranes
5Investigating Protein
6ATesting Catalase Activity (O2 Gas Sensor)
6BTesting Catalase Activity (Gas Pressure)
6CTesting Enzyme Activity (Spectrometer)
7Introduction to Biofuels: Enzyme Action
8Analysis of Enzymes using Tyrosinase
9Cellular Respiration
10ASugar Metabolism with Yeast (Carbon Dioxide Gas)
10BSugar Metabolism with Yeast (Ethanol)
11Fermentation with Yeast
12Photosynthesis by Chloroplasts
13Transpiration of Plants
14Plant Pigments
15Heart Rate
16Investigating Dissolved Oxygen
17Investigating Primary Productivity
18Modeling Population Dynamics
19Water Monitoring
20Evolution of Cellobiase in Fungi
21Introduction to Molecular Evolution
22Evolution of Yeast

Investigation 11 from Investigating Biology through Inquiry Lab Book

<i>Investigating Biology through Inquiry</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

Dev Reference: VST0624

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