Eastern Michigan University has created a four-year program in fermentation science. The program uses chemistry and biology to teach students about the production and fermentation of beer, cider, food, fuel and pharmaceutical products.

The program was designed by Cory Emal and Gregg Wilmes, professors of chemistry at EMU. They say it is intended to provide students with an understanding of the basic science behind fermentation. Required core science courses include biochemistry, microbiology, analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, cell and molecular biology and genetics.

The increased popularity and consumption of fermented food and drinks, such as beer, wine, cider, yogurt, bread, cheese, dry-cured sausage and kimchi inspired the new program.

Non-food fermentation is also on the rise, such as in the production of fuel ethanol from biomatter, and in the production of pharmaceutical products.

"As the market for these products has increased, so has the need for trained and knowledgeable college graduates to fill scientific position in various rapidly growing industries," Emal says. "The program brings together subjects from multiple disciplines, primarily chemistry and biology, and frames them in the context of the science of fermentation and its practical application, done through the creation of several new courses."