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Alcoholic Fermentation in Yeast – A Bioengineering Design Challenge


This multi-part minds-on, hands-on activity helps students to understand both alcoholic fermentation and the engineering design process. Students begin by learning about yeast and alcoholic fermentation. To test whether grains of yeast can carry out alcoholic fermentation, students compare CO2 production by grains of yeast in sugar water vs. two controls.

The last part of this activity presents the bioengineering design challenge where students work to find the optimum sucrose concentration and temperature to maximize rapid CO2 production. Structured questions guide the students through the basic engineering steps of specifying the design criteria, applying the relevant scientific background to the design problem, and then developing and systematically testing proposed design solutions.

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