Bacterial Fermentation


Under anaerobic conditions, in the dark and in the absence of electron acceptors, organic compounds are catabolized by strictly anaerobic or facultatively anaerobic bacteria by internally balanced oxidation–reduction reactions, a process called fermentation. In fermentation, the organic compound serves as both electron donor and acceptor, and adenosine triphosphate is synthesized by substrate‐level phosphorylation.

Keywords: fermentation; anaerobic bacteria; pathways; ATP yield; economics

Figure 1.

Generalized schemes for fermentation pathways. (a) A substrate is oxidized and the intermediate generated is reduced and excreted; an example is homolactic acid fermentation. (b) The oxidized intermediate (e.g. pyruvate) is disproportionated leading to a more complex product pattern, as observed in a variety of fermentations.

Figure 2.

Major pathways for fermentation of sugars including organisms involved and end products formed.



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Further Reading

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Zehnder AJB (1988) Biology of Anaerobic Microorganisms. New York: Wiley.

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Müller, Volker(Sep 2008) Bacterial Fermentation. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001415.pub2]