Eastern Michigan University

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Fermentation Science

Fermentation is the process by which organisms convert carbohydrates into energy and other by-products in the absence of oxygen. "Fermentation" is commonly used to refer to the production of alcohol from sugars, as in the production of beer and wine, but it is also present in many other common processes, such as the leavening of bread or the production of sauerkraut. Nationwide, craft beverages, such as beer, wine, cider, distilled spirits, and kombucha, have increased greatly in popularity, as have fermented foods, such as yogurt, bread, cheese, dry-cured sausage, and kimchi. This growth has been spurred both by an increase in small batch, artisan-crafter products and by the recognition of the potential health benefits of a diet that includes fermented foods containing active organisms. Additionally, non-food fermentation is on the rise, such as in the production of biofuel, and in the production of pharmaceutical products and precursor molecules.

A balanced meal of fermented foodsAs the market for these products has increased, so has the need for trained and knowledgeable college graduates to fill scientific positions in these rapidly growing industries. The Fermentation Science program at Eastern Michigan University has been designed to bring together subjects from multiple disciplines and to frame them in the context of the science of fermentation and its practical application. The program includes a foundation in Chemistry, Biology, and Physics along with newly designed courses directly related to fermentation. As a culmination of the degree, majors will participate in a capstone project in cooperation with local businesses in the fermentation industry to apply what they have learned to real-life problems. The degree can be further customized through the selection of appropriate electives in science, business, and hospitality.

You can also visit our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fermsci

Copper brew kettles at New Glarus Brewing Co.

Program Requirements

Click on this link to see the program goals and learning outcomes and objectives.

Click on this link to see the course requirements for a major in Fermentation Science.

A minor in Fermentation Science will best serve students with a major related to either Chemistry or Biology, as the prerequisites for the FERM courses will largely be taken during the course of the major. The specific course requirements for a minor depend upon the specific major:

Biology majors, click here to see the course requirements for a minor in Fermentation Science.

Biochemistry majors, click here to see the course requirements for a minor in Fermentation Science.

Chemistry majors, click here to see the course requirements for a minor in Fermentation Science.

Program Advising

  • Dr .Gregg Wilmes Cory Emal Dr. Cory Emal , PhD, Organic and Medicinal Chemistry; background in the chemistry of beer. Trained and certified as a beer and mead judge through the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP); received formal training through the Siebel Institute of Technology, and is a member of the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC), the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA), the Ann Arbor Brewer's guild (AABG) and the American Homebrewer’s Association (AHA).
  • Gregg Wilmes, PhD, Organic and Polymer Chemistry; background in food fermentation, especially bread and aged sausage production.



The Department of Chemistry is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, 214 Pray-Harrold