Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Uses of Yeast I: What is Yeast

I thought I would start a series for an organism that is commonly used but relatively unknown to most people, and what better to highlight than yeast? I'll be following up this brief intro post with some of it's common uses.

What is yeast?

Yeasts are micro-organisms that are classified in the fungi kingdom. They are unicellular (have only one cell, while we have many), and reproduce asexually by budding (a new yeast cell grows out from the old one, and is smaller than the original). The most common of the yeasts (and by far the most studied) is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In later posts this will be the yeast I am focusing on (unless I specify otherwise) for it's applications in research, food production, and industry. That's right, it's a busy little organism (and incredibly cute). So stay tuned for The Uses of Yeast!

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