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The Effect of Sugar Type on Rate of Energy Production During Yeast Fermentation

Sarah Sulon
Biology Lab 111L
Dr. Murray
October 25 2010

Abstract
The experiment was conducted to determine the impact different sugar types have on
yeast fermentation. It was hypothesized that glucose, sucrose and fructose would all produce
energy through yeast fermentation, but that sucrose would have the greatest rate of energy
production. The carbon dioxide production was tracked in the fermentation of yeast with
solution of no sugar, glucose, fructose, and sucrose over a period of twenty minutes. All of the
sugars produced energy, but glucose was the most efficient of the three, even producing energy
at three times the rate of fructose. This difference in efficiency is a result of the various
pathways the sugars must take to enter glycolysis. Glucose could enter directly while sucrose
had to be broken down and fructose required modification to enter as an intermediate.

Introduction
Respiration makes up a cell’s metabolic process where carbohydrates are converted into

energy to be used by the cell. Cellular respiration can take one of two pathways; aerobic or

anaerobic respiration. Anaerobic respiration occurs in the absence of oxygen. This pathway

produces much less oxygen than aerobic respiration because only glycolysis occurs. The Krebs

cycle and the electron transport chain are blocked since oxygen is not present to accept the

electrons at the end. In anaerobic respiration, glycolysis is followed by a side reaction to

regenerate the NAD+ used to accept electrons from the carbohydrate. In animals, this reaction is

lactic acid fermentation while in plants and fungi, ethanol fermentation occurs. These methods

are far less efficient than aerobic respiration (Cellular, 54).

Ethanol fermentation begins after glucose has been converted into two pyruvates during

glycolysis. This pyruvate then is broken into acetylealdehyde and a carbon is released in the

form of carbon dioxide. Ethanol is formed through the reduction of acetylealdehyde by NADH

(Freeman, 2011). Saccharomyces cerevisiae or baker ’s yeast is a type of fungus that undergoes

ethanol fermentation when there is a lack of oxygen. In the wild, it is found on the skins of fruit

and uses their sugars for food. Through its anaerobic respiration, it is used to produce ethanol

for alcoholic drinks and allows bread to rise with its carbon dioxide production (Cummings,

2008). Since carbon dioxide is an immediate by-product of the anaerobic respiration of yeast, its

production can be tracked to determine the efficiency of the energy production. There are many

environmental factors that can impact the efficiency of the energy yield of baker’s yeast. These

include pH, temperature and available nutrients. The amount of carbon present is the most

important nutritional requirement since yeast produces energy through the processing of

carbohydrates (Cellular, 54).

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Yeast is not limited to glucose for its sugar requirement in glycolysis. Different types of

yeasts can process different forms of carbon compounds but most yeast can metabolize glucose

and sucrose. Stelling-Dekker’s detailed studies on yeast also concluded that if a certain species

of yeast can process glucose, it can also metabolize fructose and mannose. The majority of

yeasts ferment glucose most efficiently, though there are some exceptions (Berg, 2002). Both

glucose and fructose have the same molecular formula, C6H12O6, and form a hexacarbon ring.

The only difference lies in the hydrogen-oxygen arrangements (Freeman, 72-73). Though

glucose is the reactant in glycolysis, fructose is an intermediate before the formation of pyruvate

and the raw form can enter the chain at the appropriate step (Berg, 2002). Sucrose is a

polysaccharide that consists of glucose and fructose. Many types of yeast contain the necessary

enzymes to break sucrose into the monomer subunits necessary for glycolysis (Freeman, 189).

It was hypothesized that during yeast fermentation glucose, sucrose and fructose would

all produce energy but would vary in efficiency. Previous research and results supported that

this hypothesis was plausible. Yeast can process many forms of sugars through different

methods of integration into glycolysis but glucose is the most efficient since it is the original

reactant in the chain (Berg, 2002).

Materials and Methods

Preparing the Solution

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Four 100 ml beakers were obtained and labeled 1-4. 5ml of deionized water were added

to each of the beakers. 5% glucose, sucrose and fructose solutions was acquired and 15ml of

glucose solution was added to beaker 2, 15ml of fructose solution was added to beaker 3 and

15ml of sucrose solution was added to beaker 4. Beaker 1 was designated as the control and

contained no sugar solution. In a 200ml beaker, 14mg of yeast was added to 100ml of deionized

water. The solution was mixed completely and set aside. A 30 degree Celsius water bath was

prepared. Four fermentation tubes were obtained and labeled 1-4. 15ml of the yeast solution

was added to each of the beakers at the same time so that fermentation time was consistent

across the four solutions.

Recording Fermentation Rates

Solutions were transferred to their respectively labeled fermentation tubes. The initial

height of the gas bubble was recorded at the top of the tube for all four solutions. Each of the

fermentation tubes was placed in the 30 degree Celsius water bath. Every two minutes the actual

height of the air bubble was recorded for each tube. The carbon dioxide produced by

fermentation was determined by subtracting the initial height from the actual height. This

process was continued for twenty minutes. After this was completed, the fermentation tubes

were removed from the water bath.

Data Analysis

A scatter plot graph of carbon dioxide production in mm versus time in minutes was

created to analyze how different sugars impacted the rate of fermentation of yeast. Each

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fermentation tube had a designated point on the graph with each 2 minute increment marked at

the appropriate carbon dioxide height. A line of best fit for each of the tubes was created. The

slope of each line indicated the average rate of fermentation for each tube.

Results

Production of CO2 by Yeast with Various Sugar Compounds


time (min) tube 1 tube 2 tube 3 tube 4
actual CO2 actual CO2 actual CO2 actual CO2
2 6 0 28 14 0 0 9 4
4 6 0 45 31 0 0 18 13
6 6 0 55 41 3 3 25 20
8 6 0 68 54 6 6 37 32
10 6 0 85 71 10 10 50 45
12 6 0 97 83 17 17 59 54
14 6 0 105 91 20 20 69 64
16 6 0 115 101 34 34 81 76
18 6 0 122 108 42 42 91 86
20 6 0 132 118 56 56 102 97

test average rate of production (CO2

tube sugar mm/min)


1 none 0
glucos

2 e 12.64
fructos

3 e 3.99
sucros

4 e 9.27

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The different types of sugars used in fermentation had a significant impact on the amount

of carbon dioxide produced. Glucose produced the most with a gas bubble of 132mm while

sucrose yielded 102mm of carbon dioxide. The gas byproduct in fructose measured only 56mm.

The control with no sugar resulted in 0mm of carbon dioxide and was the least productive of the

tubes. The slope of the line of best fit was analyzed to determine the average rate of carbon

dioxide production over the 20 minute time frame. Glucose was the most efficient, producing

12.64 mm of carbon dioxide per minute. Sucrose yielded 9.27 mm of carbon dioxide per minute

during fermentation while fructose functioned at a rate of 3.99 mm of carbon dioxide per minute.

The control that contained no sugar had no rate of carbon dioxide production. The rate of

production of carbon dioxide for both glucose and sucrose remained fairly constant throughout

the experiment. The rate for fructose began slowly but increased rapidly as time went on. The

rate of production of carbon dioxide remained at a constant 0 throughout.

Discussion

The hypothesis was supported in that all forms of sugar produced energy and that glucose

was the most efficient. The carbon dioxide produced can be directly related to the energy

produced through fermentation because carbon dioxide is a by-product of ethanol fermentation

(Cellular, 54). The control that contained no sugar produced no energy because a source of sugar

is required for glycolysis and fermentation to occur. Glucose had the greatest rate of energy

production because its rate of carbon dioxide production was the largest. Sucrose had the second

highest rate of production while fructose had the lowest rate out of the three sugars. Glucose’s

rate of energy production was more than three times that of fructose. Glucose was directly used

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in the glycolysis cycle and did not require any extra energy to convert it into a usable form

(Freeman, 154). This supported why glucose was the most efficient. Sucrose required an

enzyme and energy input to break it down into glucose and fructose in order for it to be

processed in glycolysis (Freeman, 189). Fructose also could not be used immediately in the

glycolysis chain but had to be altered to enter the chain as one of the intermediates (Berg, 2002).

These processes required to convert the non-glucose sugars into a usable form reduced their

efficiency when compared to glucose. The largest source of error for the experiment was the

start time of fermentation. The yeast was added to the fructose solution well after the glucose

and fructose yeast solutions began fermenting. Fermentation takes time to reach its maximum

rate of energy production so the time gap left glucose and sucrose further ahead than fructose in

the fermentation process (Berg, 2002). The data on rate of carbon dioxide production was

therefore skewed because the start of fermentation was not controlled. Glucose and sucrose

appear far more efficient than fructose because of this error. If this experiment were to be

repeated, extra care would be taken to ensure that fermentation began at the same time. The

measurements of sugars would be measured in equal molarity and not by percent in a solution so

that the sugar molecules are equal across all of the tests. Other follow-up experiments may

include testing other types of yeasts to see how fermentation rates are impacted. The results of

these experiments could impact what sugars are the most efficient in alcohol fermentation. This

could determine what types of sugar brewers should use for the most efficient production of

alcohol.

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Works Cited

Berg, Jeremy M., John L. Tymoczko, and Lubert Stryer. "16.1: Glycolysis Is an Energy-

Conversion Pathway in Many Organisms." Biochemistry. New York: W.H. Freeman,

2002. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. 24 Oct. 2010.

<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books>.

"Cellular Respiration and Fermentation." Symbiosis: The Pearson Custom Library for the

Biological Sciences. Ed. Kelly Harris. New York: Pearson Custom, 2009. 53-54. Print.

Cummings, Richard D., Jeffrey D. Esko, Hudson H. Freeze, Gerald W. Hart, and Marilynn E.

Etzler. "Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, the Model Yeast." Essentials of Glycobiology. By

Ajit Varki. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 2008. National

Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. 24 Oct. 2010.

<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books>.

Freeman, Scott. "An Introduction to Carbohydrates, Cellular Respiration and Fermentation."

Biological Science. San Fransicso, CA: Benjamin Cummings, 2011. 72+. Print.