Fermentation and types of fermentation
We all love our sandwiches. They are healthy, tasty and quick to make. But did you ever think about how the staple ingredient of a sandwich, bread, is made? The process of making bread is nothing but fermentation and in this blog, let us try to understand how it happens and why that happens.
When sugar, yeast, flour, and water are added together and left for some time, the yeast breaks down the sugar. It gives off carbon dioxide, which causes the bread to rise.
One more product we use in daily life is fermented milk. Fermentation of milk means milk is partially broken down or digested by microorganisms. It makes consumption of milk easier for people with lactose intolerance and a weak digestive system.
Before getting into the fine details of fermentation, we must understand the respiration process that causes fermentation.
What is the process of respiration?
It is a biochemical process that occurs at a cellular level. When a microorganism, like yeast, breaks down the sugar or starch, it results in the release of carbon dioxide, water and energy.
What are the types of respiration?
The respiration process can take place in the presence or absence of oxygen. There are following two types of respiration process, based on the absence and the presence of oxygen:
- Aerobic respiration
- Anaerobic respiration
What is aerobic respiration?
Aerobic respiration is the chemical breakdown of glucose or sugar to create energy in the presence of oxygen.
What is anaerobic respiration?
Anaerobic respiration is the chemical breakdown of glucose or sugar to create energy in the absence of oxygen.
What is fermentation?
Fermentation Definition: Fermentation is the process of converting sugar or glucose into alcohol and energy.
It is an anaerobic process in which sugar or glucose breaks down with the help of microorganisms at the cellular level in the presence of microorganisms like yeast.
Based on the number of end products, what are the types of fermentation?
There are two types of fermentation on the basis of the number of end products are:
- Homo fermentation
- Hetero fermentation
What is homo fermentation?
This process has only one by-product.
An example of homo fermentation is when Pyruvate reacts with the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase. Lactate or lactic acid is the by-product.
What is hetero or heterogenous fermentation?
This process of fermentation has more than one by-product.
An example of heterogeneous fermentation is when Leuconostoc mesenteroides is used for souring vegetables like cucumbers to make pickles.
Based on the type of end products, what are the types of fermentation?
There are three types of fermentation on the basis of the type of end products are:
- Lactic fermentation
- Alcohol fermentation
- Acetic fermentation
What is Lactic fermentation?
Yeast breaks down the starch or sugar into lactic acid. It does not require any heat in its preparation.
What is Alcohol fermentation?
Yeasts break down the glucose, known as glycolysis, into alcohol and carbon dioxide molecules.
What is acetic fermentation?
Yeasts break down the sugar, starch or glucose into acidic products.
How does fermentation occur?
When yeast is kept with sugar, it breaks down the sugar. After consumption, it excretes waste material in the form of carbon dioxide. Some reactions also result in the formation of alcohol and energy.
The reaction below shows how yeast breaks down the sugar or glucose:
When a microorganism breaks down an organic substance to release energy and alcohol, such a process is called fermentation.
What is the use of fermentation in daily life?
Following are the uses of fermentation in daily life:
- The fermentation process is in frequent use in the food preservation and food processing industry. Many food processing industries, especially pickle making, uses fermentation to store the food and increase its shelf life.
- Alcoholic beverages are the result of this process. The alcohol industry uses heterogeneous fermentation as a process.
- Bread and other bakery products are the results of fermentation.
- The fermentation process is a deciding factor in producing biofuels like ethanol. Sugar beet, corn, and sugar cane are some of the most common plants used in ethanol production because they contain a lot of sugar, which bacteria can ferment.
What are the uses of fermented food?
Following are the uses of fermented food:
- Improves the digestive system: Fermentation produces probiotics, which can help restore the balance of friendly bacteria in your stomach and reduce some digestive issues.
- Strengthens your immune system: Fermented foods, with their high probiotic content, can strengthen your immune system and reduce your risk of infections like the fever and common cold.
- Makes food easier to digest: Fermentation aids in the breakdown of nutrients in foods, making them easier to digest than their non-fermented equivalents.
Now that we know so much about fermentation, let’s see a fun experiment to understand how fermentation can be used in our everyday lives.
We hope you enjoyed this fun learning experience about fermentation.
So the next time your mother serves cake or bread, try to understand the science behind it and why that is happening. And while you are at it, feel free to flaunt your knowledge!
Till then, keep learning, keep enjoying!
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