The notion of time has nothing to do with the definition of work. M. Schutzenberger has not perceived that in introducing the consideration of time into the definition of the power of a ferment, he must introduce at the same time, that of the vital activity of the cells which is independent of their character as a ferment.
M. Schutzenberger would associate this activity with the notion of time in estimating the power of the ferment; but he forgets to notice that yeast can only manifest this maximum of energy under a radical change of its life conditions; by having no more air at its disposal and breathing no more free oxygen.
In short, he is disposed to draw from our observations the very opposite conclusion to that which we arrived at. M, Schutzenberger has failed to notice that the power of a ferment is independent of the time during which it performs its functions. We placed a trace of yeast in one litre of saccharine wort; it propagated, and all the sugar was decomposed.
M. Schutzenberger is astonished that fermentation can take place in the presence of free oxygen, if, as we suppose, the decomposition of the sugar is the consequence of the nutrition of the yeast, at the expense of the combined oxygen, which yields itself to the ferment. At all events, he argues, fermentation ought to be slower in the presence of free oxygen. But why should it be slower?
M. Schutzenberger asserts that in doing this we lay down a doubtful hypothesis, and he thinks that this power, which he terms FERMENTATIVE ENERGY, may be estimated more correctly by the quantity of sugar decomposed by the unit-weight of yeast in unit-time; moreover, since our experiments show that yeast is very vigorous when it has a sufficient supply of oxygen, and that, in such a case, it can decompose much sugar in a little time, M. Schutzenberger concludes that it must then have great power as a ferment, even greater than when it performs its functions without the aid of air, since under this condition it decomposes sugar very slowly.