Basic science: understanding experiments
Basic science: understanding experiments

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Basic science: understanding experiments

Week 3: Sugar, yeast and life

Introduction

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_experiments_vid_1003.mp4
Skip transcript

Transcript

JANET SUMNER
Hello and welcome to Week 3. Over the last two weeks you've investigated the physical properties of some materials, both solid and liquids. And you've also investigated how water can move through a cell wall, which showed us one of the molecular properties.
This week your simple experiment is going to look at something more complicated, something biological. You're going to do an experiment using a living organism and investigate the conditions under which that organism grows the best. We're going to investigate the growth of yeast, the substance responsible for making bread rise and turning water into beer.
Yeast is an organism called a fungi and it sits in the same group of living things as mushrooms, toad stools, and moulds, and obviously it's hugely important to humans. By looking at the growth of yeast you will learn about how to control an experiment, and about the biological process called respiration. This is when living things consume food to grow.
We look forward to you joining the discussion about your experimental results in the forums.
End transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Welcome to Week 3. This week, you will be conducting experiments using living organisms. You might be wondering if you need special licences or ethics committee approval, but as the organisms involved are only single-celled fungi, you don’t need to worry. This week, you will be experimenting on yeasts.

As single-celled organisms, yeasts are tiny; only a few, to a few tens, of micrometres (10-6 m) across. Yet despite their size, they have had a huge impact on our culture, having been used for thousands of years in the manufacture of leavened bread, beer and wine (although some of us think it reached its culinary peak in the manufacture of Marmite).

The uses we have put yeasts to might seem trivial, but for many centuries throughout the history of human culture, water supplies were often unsafe to drink, due to the presence of pathogens. It was often the case that the only safe beverage to drink was beer or wine, so the use of yeasts has been pivotal in lowering mortality rates.

Skip Your course resources
BSCI_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371