The Effect of Temperature and Yeast on the Alcohol Content of Fermented Zea Mays

Fossil fuel sources throughout the world are rapidly depleting. An efficient alternative fuel source is needed to replace it. Ethanol can be made more efficient by increasing the alcohol content. Alcohol content is directly related to how well a material can be used as a biofuel. The purpose of this experiment was to try to improve the alcohol content of corn after fermentation, which is the most abundant biofuel source in the United States. If ethanol is made more efficient, it can be used as the primary fuel source. The companies could use the same amount of corn to produce higher alcohol content, and it would save them time, money and resources.

During the experiment, corn was blended and the alcohol content was measured before fermentation. It was then mixed with different amounts of yeast and fermented in incubators set at varying temperatures, depending on the trial. After four days, the corn mixture was removed from the incubator and the alcohol content was measured. The second alcohol measurement was subtracted from the first measurement and this gave the final alcohol content. A two factor Design of Experiment (DOE) was used to analyze the data collected. The DOE determined that neither temperature nor amount of yeast in the fermented corn had a significant effect on the alcohol content. The original hypothesis that the highest alcohol content would be produced at a temperature of 20 C and 3 grams of yeast was rejected.

Research Done By:

Madeline LaBelle
WarrenMottHigh School

Keara Miley
LakeShoreHigh School