|Yeast cells under a microscope.|
|A diagram of a typical yeast cell|
A particular species of yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been used for thousands of years. It is used for baking bread because the yeast makes carbon dioxide as a by-product of it eating sugar, which helps the bread rise (leaven). Yeast is also used for making beer and other alcoholic drinks by a process known as fermentation. This process produces both ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. Ethanol is also used as fuel, and to make other organic chemicals.
A block of fresh yeast
Dry yeast (usually, yeast is sold like this)
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Media related to Yeasts at Wikimedia Commons