Pressure and Fermentation
Name: Wayne D.
Carbon dioxide is made by yeast and other
microorganisms. Beer fermentation is a good example. We know that
ethanol inhibits fermentation at about 8% for a beer yeast at about 13%
for a wine yeast which can tolerate greater concentrations.
My question is: what is the maximum pressure of carbon dioxide that a
yeast fermentation can achieve ? My guess is that dissolved carbonic acid
will be the agent that inhibits the enzymes and the pressure per say is
not the issue. Any thoughts ?
I suspect you are correct. The pH of water saturated with CO2 is about
Tap water is between 6.5 and 8.0 depending upon what salts etc. are present.
The pH of wines varies between 2.8 and 3.8 depending upon what other acids
are present, e.g. tartaric acid is a common acid found in wines.
I cannot answer your question directly since I never
tested to what pressure yeast is resistant, or how
much pressure carbon dioxide of biological origin can
However, yeast has a strong cell wall and is a hard
nut to crack. Also it can produce spores which are
even sturdier. My guess is that the pressure is indeed
not the issue.
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Update: June 2012