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The Mechanism of Alcoholic Fermentation


Raymond, Albert L. (1925) The Mechanism of Alcoholic Fermentation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/P58Q-KP97.


The alcoholic fermentation of sugar containing materials is one of the oldest biochemical processes of which we have historical record. On the other hand, only in recent years have we acquired much evidence as to the mechanism by which alcohol and carbon dioxide are formed from the sugar. Although Pasteur proved conclusively that fermentation is closely associated with the life of certain organisms, yet it was not until Buchner showed that fermentation may take place in the absence of living cells that the importance of organic catalysts was realized. It was these researchers of Buchner which made possible the intelligent investigation of this important mechanism.

In the several years which have passed since this memorable discovery, and enormous amount of work has been done in the field and many data have accumulated. Many theories have also been advanced to explain the confusing results which have been obtained, but objections have been raised to all that have so far been presented. On reviewing these theories, however, it seemed possible by a slight modification of some of them to account for a large proportion of the available facts in a modified theory. Since modified theory suggests the advisability of a number of experimental investigations, it would seem of value to give an account of it at the present time, together with an outline of possible modes of experimental attack and a statement of the meager results already obtained.

The development of the new theory is made more intelligible by first discussing the older theories most intimately involved, and by then attempting to show how they may perhaps be correlated. In discussing those theories which have been advanced it is of course necessary to include a summary of the evidence on which they are based; but no attempt will be made to include information other than that which is directly involved. It is hoped that no omissions of unfavorable facts have been made. The following discussion will be confined to the process of fermentation as accomplished by enzyme systems, and will not touch upon the complex question of the mode of action of the living organisms.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Unknown, Unknown
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1925
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11052004-164657
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4412
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:11 Nov 2004
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 23:35

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