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Yeast. A microscopic, unicellular plant that belongs to the genus Saccharomyces and includes a number of species of which Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the most important as it comprises the varieties used in baking, brewing, wine making, and other industries involving fermentation (q.v.). The organism reproduces by budding (q.v.) and also by sporulation (q..v.) and is capable of converting certain sugars (q.v.) into alcohol (q.v.) and carbon dioxide gas (q.v.) by fermentation, a reaction of major economic significance.