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What are the Differences between aerobic and anaerobic fermentation?

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March 28, 2010 9:33PM

Fermentation refers to catabolic processes where organic molecules, such as sugars or amino acids, are broken down to produce energy without the use of a membrane-bound electron transport chain. Depending upon the organism, fermentation can occur in the presence (aerobic) and/or in the absence (anaerobic) of oxygen. Fermentation pathways produce byproducts such as carbon dioxide, ethanol (alcohol), or organic acids (lactic acid or acetic acid, for example). Yeast cells can ferment sugar and in the process produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. Lactobacillus bacteria can ferment the sugar lactose and produce lactic acid; this is how yogurt is made. Wine vinegar is produced by bacteria that ferment the sugars in grape juice and produce acetic acid. Fermentation is sometimes called anaerobic respiration, but microbiologists disagree with this usage. The term respiration refers to energy-yielding metabolic processes that involve a membrane-bound electron transport chain.