Fermentation scientists study microorganisms in the fermentation process and how they relate to fuels, pharmaceuticals, food, plants and animals. They design and execute critical fermentation processes ranging from small benchtop experiments (a small experiment that helps scientists to guess what might happen on a larger scale) to full-scale manufacturing processes. Using these results, they can improve the quality or efficiency of the fermentation processes.
What Responsibilities Will I Have?
- Execute lab or pilot-scale fermentations using various fermentation equipment
- Conduct microbiology research to improve chemical breakdown of substances by bacteria, yeast or other microorganisms
- Prepare fermentation mediums (microbes or cells used for fermentation to grow on), buffer solutions (a chemical solution that resists change to its acidity) and consumable materials
- Develop programs for contamination reduction and increasing fermentation time
- Conceive, plan, develop and evaluate technical and business projects
- Prepare presentations and technical reports to communicate results
- Apply statistical models to determine the validity of results
- Prepare, review and provide guidance for documents to meet compliance requirements
- Take notes during experimentation using an electronic lab notebook, batch record and/or protocols
- Work with the appropriate regulatory and compliance agencies (e.g., FDA) as needed
- Ensure processes follow all safety, environmental and corporate quality regulations
- Build connections with academic research universities to address key knowledge gaps
- Conduct reviews of scientific literature and make recommendations for application to current process issues based on those reviews
Recommended High School Courses:
- agricultural education
- culinary arts
- family and consumer sciences
- computer skills
A bachelor’s degree in microbiology, biology, chemistry, food science or a related field is required to become a fermentation scientist. There are some positions, especially those that are more research driven, that require a master’s or doctorate degree.