The use of the fermentation products of yeast is one of the earliest examples of biotechnology. Investigations using yeast provide a range of opportunities to explore the potential of using micro-organisms as a means of producing products which play an important part in our lives. Making bread is an activity frequently undertaken in the primary classroom which has potential for testing variables by addressing questions such as: What it the best place to make bread rise? Or, more specifically, at what temperature does the bread rise most?

At KS3 investigations using yeast can become more focused and explore the products of the fermentation process - what is the gas given off to make the bread rise? By KS4 and beyond the alcoholic nature of the process can be examined in more detail and comparisons made between the conditions required to produce alcohol rather than simply causing bread to rise. Such investigations can be the starting point for "book-based" research into the wide range of uses to which the products of the fermentation process are put. There are many uses of alcohol which are beneficial and go far beyond its use in many drinks which are now available.

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