31 Dec

Microbiology of Alcohol Fermentation

Thanks to the microbiology of alcohol fermentation many of us are microbiologists and we don’t even know it.  Fermented food and beverages are as old as the first civilization.  Beer and wine existed in 2000 B.C. and there’s even an Assyrian tablet that states Noah took beer aboard the ark.  Beer, wine, vinegar, buttermilk, sauerkraut, and yogurt are some of the products of fermentation.  Most of these foods are produced by different strains of yeasts such as Saccharomyces or bacteria such as Acetobacter and LactobacillusFermentation is actually a means of food preservation because the acids formed hold back the growth of microbes that cause spoilage.  Wine is fermented fruit juice where Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. ellipsoideus carries out the fermentation reaction.  Three conditions are necessary: simple sugar, yeast, and anaerobic conditions.  Sugar is converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide.  White wine is fermented at 13 degrees celsius and red wine is fermented at 24 degrees celsius.