Yeast & Entropy

Matthias Heinemann
Matthias Heinemann

Yeast & Entropy  (starts 2:30) When yeast cells eat sugar and then give off ethanol, it helps us make yeast breads and beer.  But WHY would yeast work so hard to metabolize sugar, simply to spit out as ethanol?  This is a mystery that Matthias Heinemann is  trying to figure out. Heinemann is a professor of molecular systems biology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.  His research published in Nature shows that yeast spits out ethanol to protect the yeast from “ metabolic overload.” Heinemann has figured out how to predict when this will happen, using the Gibbs Equation, ie through the perspective of conventional  biology. Heinemann seeks clues about metabolism by applying some scientific laws that are best known for explaining machines and engines. They’re the laws of thermodynamics.  (TRANSCRIPT HERE)

Host, ProducerEngineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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