Alcoholic fermentation, the process by which yeast and some bacteria convert saccharides into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Its applications in the production of alcoholic beverages, biofuels, baked food. Ongoing research and advancements in fermentation technologies continue to expand the potential applications of alcoholic fermentation in diverse fields.
Alcoholic Beverages: The most well-known and widespread application of alcoholic fermentation is in the production of alcoholic beverages. Various types of alcoholic beverages are produced through the fermentation of saccharides present in ingredients like grains (for beer and spirits), grapes (for wine), or fruits (for certain spirits and liqueurs). Alcoholic fermentation converts the saccharides into ethanol and carbon dioxide, imparting the characteristic flavors, aromas, and alcohol content to the beverages.
Bread and Baked Goods: Yeast converts the saccharides in the dough into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide gas causes the dough to rise, creating a light and fluffy texture in the final product. The alcohol evaporates during baking, leaving behind the desired flavor and texture characteristics.
Biofuel Production: Alcoholic fermentation is utilized in the production of biofuels, particularly bioethanol that is a renewable and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels. It is produced by fermenting saccharides derived from various sources, including corn, sugarcane, wheat, and cellulosic biomass. The ethanol is mixed with gasoline for automobile fuel to reduce reliance on fossil fuel.
Lactic acid fermentation
Lactic acid fermentation, the process by which bacteria convert saccharides into lactic acid, has several practical applications in various industries.
Food and Beverage: Lactic acid fermentation is widely employed in the production of various food and beverage products. After fermentation, the lactic acid causes the casein in milk to coagulate, improving the flavor and texture of dairy products. It is also utilized in pickles to give them sour taste. Lactic acid fermentation also acts as a natural means of food preservation.
The lactic acid produced during fermentation creates an acidic environment that inhibits the growth of spoilage-causing bacteria and extends the shelf life of the product. Lactic acid bacteria, the microorganisms responsible for lactic acid fermentation, are known as probiotics. They can help maintain a healthy balance of gut microbiota, aid in digestion, enhance the immune system, and support overall gut health.
Industrial Applications: Lactic acid is a natural and non-toxic compound used in the production of biodegradable plastics, polylactic acid (PLA), which finds applications in packaging materials, disposable cutlery, textiles, and more. These items do not stay in nature for long after they are discarded. They are quickly broken down by bacteria.
Medical Applications: The excellent biocompatibility and degradability of lactic acid make it widely used in the medical field. Polylactic acid and other hydrogels are used to produce scaffolds and screws for regenerative medicine. They are also used to make surgical sutures. Tissues grow on the surface of these materials and continually break them down. When they are completely degraded, the body's injury is healed, avoiding damage caused by the removal of implants and sutures.
Lactic acid can be incorporated into drug delivery systems, such as microspheres, nanoparticles, and hydrogels, to control the release of pharmaceutical compounds. They allow for constant concentration of drug, improving therapeutic efficacy while minimizing side effects.
Similar to the industrial applications of lactic acid, it is also used in conjunction with other materials to produce disposable medical supplies such as gloves and protective clothing.