Fermentation Science: Newest EU program debuts for fall 2019, labs still in development

Category:  News
Friday, September 20th, 2019 at 11:03 AM

The university’s new fermentation science program is a rumor no more. It’s officially part of the Edinboro campus, as of fall 2019. It is a Bachelor of Science degree, housed within the College of Science and Health Professions. 

Dr. Janet Rogers, chairperson of the Chemistry Department, helped develop the new program along with Dr. Nathan Armatas. “Members of the administration came to us and asked us if we were interested in putting together a fermentation science program,” said Rogers. “Dr. Armatas took the lead on that. He put together the program and the rest of the faculty helped develop courses to go into the program.”

The program entails much more than the perceived notion of alcoholic fermentation. In fact, the application and science involved ranges from food processing to the pharmaceutical industry. “We didn’t want it to focus on say, beer or wine, we wanted it to be a broader program to give students graduating from the program more options,” said Rogers.

Fermented foods, as Rogers explains, include coffee, tea, chocolate, many dairy products like cheese, yogurt and kefir, along with fermented vegetables, meats and bread.

The required coursework for the program ranges from chemistry to biology. “We need all the chemistry, biology and physics if we’re going to test the quality of fermented food products,” said Rogers. He continued, “We need the biology courses to understand the micro-organisms that are used in fermentation.”

Partnerships with local businesses will offer students enrolled in the program a wide variety of potential internships and job training. According to the program’s website, “there are currently 10 cheese/dairy product manufacturers, 4 major pharmaceutical companies, 56 breweries, 47 winery/vineyards and 18 distilleries,” all within a 100-mile radius of the university.

On top of the new program, new additions to Cooper Hall will be introduced in the coming years specifically for fermentation science. Rogers explained that the department “received a grant from the state for establishing a yeast library, so that is in development.” Along with the yeast library, a fermentation lab is also in development and the faculty is looking for a suitable location. “Discussions are on the way for where the best place to put the fermentation lab [is],” said Rogers.

While in its novice stage, the program has a reputation to uphold, as the Edinboro University Twitter page describes the degree as being “the only one of its kind in PA.”

View Our YouTube Channel
Edinboro TV
Find Us on Instagram