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This model illustrates an experiment performed in 1862 by Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) to study the fermentation of grape juice. One bunch of grapes is wrapped in sterilised cotton wool while the other is exposed to the air. When both bunches were ripe, they were crushed separately in vessels – those from the covered bunch did not ferment but the uncovered ones did. This experiment showed that alcoholic fermentation only happens when the grape juice comes into contact with germs of yeast in the air. This experiment was one of a series by Pasteur that disproved existing ideas about spontaneous generation.

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Glossary: microbiology

Branch of biology that deals with micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and their effects.

Glossary: grape vine

A vine or climbing shrub, of the genus Vitis, having small green flowers and lobed leaves, and bearing the fruit called grapes.

Glossary: half model

Models, traditionally of wood, representing half of a structure, generally a building or a ship divided vertically along a central axis, such as the mid-ship line for a vessel half-model. Used for a design presentation or for decorative purposes.

Glossary: spontaneous generation

The supposed production of living organisms from non-living matter, a common belief until the 1800s.

Glossary: fermentation

A form of anaerobic respiration (respiration that does not need oxygen) occurring in certain micro-organisms, for example yeasts.