What is the economic importance of fermentation by yeast?

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “What is the economic importance of fermentation by yeast?”, talk about the yeast’s origin and discuss the types of yeast. 

What is the economic importance of fermentation by yeast?

Yeasts have a high value in industrial areas, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae is widely recognized in this industry since it ferments carbs to generate beer and bread. 

The manufacture of alcoholic drinks by yeast from fermentable carbon sources is the most ancient and economically significant of all biotechnologies. 

Yeast is required for the creation of all alcoholic drinks. The selection of appropriate yeast strains is critical not only to optimize alcohol yield but also to preserve beverage sensory quality.

Yeasts play a significant role in the complexity and sensory quality of fermented drinks.  Some yeasts also help in food preservation. For example, the compound “pullulan” generated by Aureobasidium pullulans creates a translucent coating over food, protecting it from degradation.

Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world. Malted grains (barley or other), water, hops, and yeast are the typical components. Each of these components adds to the overall flavor and fragrance of beer. 

Yeast cells convert cereal-derived carbohydrates into ethanol and CO2 during fermentation. At the same time, hundreds of secondary metabolites are created, which impact the fragrance and flavor of the beer. The variation in these metabolites across yeast strains is what permits yeast to impact beer flavor so distinctively.

The fermentation of the yeast-made dough is the most essential stage in the bread-making process. The fermentative production of yeast cells during this fermentation is critical since it impacts the ultimate bread quality. 

Yeasts not only create CO2 and other metabolites that affect the final look of the dough, volume, and texture, as well as the flavor of the bread. It is recommended to select suitable yeast strains with certain properties depending on the kind of dough and to achieve optimal fermentation rates.

Another important role of yeast that some people do not know is in coffee production. Yeasts play a vital part in the post-harvest phase of coffee manufacturing. Coffee beans are sometimes fermented in a mixed procedure, first aerobically and then anaerobically. 

Yeasts also play an important role in chocolate production. Raw cocoa beans have a bitter and astringent flavor, so fermentation promotes taste development by allowing the enzymatic breakdown of proteins and carbs inside the bean. This processing stage allows the taste of cacao to be extracted and contributes to the final acidity of the product. 

Yeasts (and bacteria) ferment the juicy pulp found in cacao beans in a variety of ways, often alternating between an anaerobic and aerobic phase. 

In the biorefinery industry, certain novel techniques have been developed to reprogram yeast for usage in various bioprocesses.  So, yeast is essential for beverage, food, and even fuel industries. 

What is the origin of yeast?

The Egyptians were utilizing ways to make bread rise as early as 2500 before Christ. The old, sour doughs were combined with the new ones, making the bread more flavorful and lighter.

For generations, scientists were unable to explain the reasons for fermentation.

The yeast was the live thing that caused the dough to rise, yet it was not visible to the naked eye.

Van Leeuwenhoek, a scientist, invented his own microscope in 1674 and discovered that microscopic globules ferment in a sugar solution.

What are the types of yeast?

Fresh yeast

Fresh yeast, which is usually found in supermarkets and bakeries in the form of tablets, is a creamy paste like butter with a smooth and moldable texture like putty or wet clay and has a strong perfume that does not fade in the final result.

When purchasing, take special care to check the expiration date since it is quite sensitive and becomes unfit for use after 45 days. It should be refrigerated and kept covered for a maximum period of 15 days if opened. 

Dried yeast

Dry yeast is more concentrated since it must be processed to remove moisture. It has a thick texture and a beige hue and is made by drying fresh yeast in hot air. 

It is more easily found than fresh yeast. It comes in cans, broken down into little particles or granules the size of birdseed, and has the appearance of granulated powder. Contains emulsifiers that aid in moisture loss, guaranteeing a shelf life of 6 months.

Because it was dehydrated, it must be rehydrated in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes before preparation. 

Instant yeast

Instant yeast undergoes several dehydration operations. It is made out of inactive yeast cells and from which water is removed by dehydration. 

Instant yeast was developed to give the bakery professional the agility of quick rehydration, allowing it to be mixed directly into flour with the same performance as fresh yeast. It is presented in the form of very small granules of a light cream color, smaller and smoother than active dry yeast.

It may be stored at room temperature in closed packaging and has a shelf life of up to two years. Once opened, it should be refrigerated and stored in hermetically sealed packaging.

Conclusion

In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “What is the economic importance of fermentation by yeast?”, talked about the yeast’s origin and discussed the types of yeast. 

References

Maicas, Sergi. “The Role of Yeasts in Fermentation Processes.” Microorganisms 8, no. 8 (July 28, 2020): 1142. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8081142.

InfoEscola. “Levedura.” Accessed January 13, 2022. https://www.infoescola.com/reino-fungi/levedura/.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.