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Fermentation / Anaerobic Respiration

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Cellular Respiration Lecture - Mr Pauller

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Key Questions

  • Answer:

    Fermentation is an anaerobic metabolic process in which an organism converts a carbohydrate to an alcohol or an acid.


    The first step in all fermentation processes is glycolysis, the conversion of glucose to pyruvate:

    #"C"_6"H"_12"O"_6 → "2CH"_3"COCOO"^(−) + "2H"_2"O" + 2"H"^+#

    There are two main types of fermentation; one converts pyruvate into lactate (lactic acid) and the other into ethanol.


    In lactic acid fermentation, pyruvate is converted into lactic acid.

    #underbrace("CH"_3"COCOO"^-)_color(red)("pyruvate") stackrelcolor (blue)("enzymes")(→) underbrace("2CH"_3"CH(OH)COOH")_color(red)("lactic acid") #

    In alcohol fermentation,the pyruvate is decarboxylated to acetaldehyde, and then into ethanol.

    #"CH"_3"COCOO"^(-)+ "H"^+ stackrelcolor (blue)("pyruvate decarboxylase")(→) "CH"_3"CHO" + "CO"_2#

    #"CH"_3"CHO" stackrelcolor (blue)("alcohol dehydrogenase")(⇌) "CH"_3"CH"_2"OH"#

    In an aerobic process, the pyruvate is converted by respiration to carbon dioxide and water.

    Here is a summary of the three possible fates of pyruvate:

    Pyruvate fates

  • Answer:

    Some examples of anaerobic respiration include alcohol fermentation, lactic acid fermentation.


    Some examples of anaerobic respiration include alcohol fermentation, lactic acid fermentation (which can result in yogurt and in sore muscles), and in decomposition of organic matter. The equation is: glucose + enzymes = carbon dioxide + ethanol/lactic acid.

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