Sure, baker's yeast helps make some of our favorite pastries and breads, but it turns out that yeasts also make fantastic genetic models. Due to the relatively short cell life cycles, scientists have been able to identify where some key genetic mutations occur and how they can lead to cancer. This kind of work is advancing the treatment and prevention of cancer every day.
Read about cancer research!
This month StemBox explored just one cell function of yeast, the respiration of yeast cells. However, for cells to live, die, multiply, and adapt there are a flurry of other cell signals required to get the job done. The Khan Academy does a great job of exploring and explaining the signals that lead to yeast reproduction, the next logical step in this adventure!
Visit Khan Academy!
If you checked out the cell signaling lesson from Khan Academy, you're probably ready to see how yeast reproduce in a video! The "mother" cell will begin to a relase a small bud, alson known as a "bleb". This mother cell's nucleus will split and migrate during the budding with the new bud. Once the bud is fully formed, it pops off the mother cell and the "daughter" cell is made! This budding can occur on average 5 times per cell and leaves budding scars on the mother.
Watch yeast bud!
Emily Buehler, the writer of this blog post on Scientific American dives into her own breadbaking adventure. In this article, Buehler takes the time to even hand-draw the enzymatic reactions happening in baking that result in delicious treatas. If you like storytelling and science, this is a great read!
Read the article!
This page is a great introductory lesson to the science of bread! From flours to yeast, this site will get you pointed in the right direction to find more information.
Special bonus: check out their graphic animation of the role that gluten plays in bread!
In this month's experiment, we learned about how yeast, a single-celled fungus, releases carbon dioxide as a result of respiration to give bread its rise and fluffy texture. But something more complex than that happens in sourdough bread.We'll give you a hint though: it requires another single-celled organism!
What's the other organism?
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Yes, these thermometers are made by US Scientific and are mercury free.
Yes! If you're still interested in comparing the variables of sugar and temperature on bread baking you'll just have to make sure you continue to use the same type of yeast for each loaf to control for the type of yeast used.
Try experimenting with even more types of sweeteners! Here are a few more recommendations: honey, agave, Sweet'N Low (saccharin), Stevia (glycoside), and Truvia (erythritol). You can also vary the amounts of salt you use in your recipes to see what effect salt has on bread!
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