Zymology, also known as zymurgy,[a] is an applied science that studies the biochemical process of fermentation and its practical uses. Common topics include the selection of fermenting yeast and bacteria species and their use in brewing, wine making, fermenting milk, and the making of other fermented foods.


Fermentation can be simply defined, in this context, as the conversion of sugar molecules into ethanol and carbon dioxide by yeast.


Fermentation practices have led to the discovery of ample microbial and antimicrobial cultures on fermented foods and products.[1][2]


French chemist Louis Pasteur was the first 'zymologist' when in 1857 he connected yeast to fermentation. Pasteur originally defined fermentation as "respiration without air".

Pasteur performed careful research and concluded:

Je pense que la fermentation alcoolique ne se produit jamais sans une organization simultanée, une développement, une multiplication de cellules … . Si l'on me demandai en quoi consiste la réaction chimique par laquelle le sucre et décomposé … je l'ignore complètement.

I am of the opinion that alcoholic fermentation never occurs without simultaneous organization, development and multiplication of cells … . If asked, in what consists the chemical act whereby the sugar is decomposed … I am completely ignorant of it.

— La Fermentation Alcoolique[3]

The German Eduard Buchner, winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize in chemistry, later determined that fermentation was actually caused by a yeast secretion, which he termed 'zymase'.

The research efforts undertaken by the Danish Carlsberg scientists greatly accelerated understanding of yeast and brewing. The Carlsberg scientists are generally acknowledged[by whom?] as having jump-started the entire field of molecular biology.



  1. ^ From the Ancient Greek: ζύμωσις + ἔργον, "the workings of fermentation".


  1. ^ Sreeramulu, Zhu & Knol (2000).
  2. ^ Demain, Martens & Knol (2017).
  3. ^ Harden, Arthur (1913). La Fermentation Alcoolique (in French). A. Hermann. pp. 15–16.


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