Lactic Acid Fermentation

Depending on the pathway used for glucose oxidation, lactic acid fermentation can result in the production of lactate (homolactic fermentation), lactate, ethanol/ acetate, and CO2 (heterolactic fermentation) or lactate and acetate (the bifid shunt). Lactic acid fermentation is carried out by lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria, and also by some species of Bacillus, some protozoa and water molds, and the cells of human skeletal muscle when they are subjected to extreme work under oxygen deprivation. Both homolactic and heterolactic fermentation are involved in food and animal feed transformation and preservation. In particular, lactic acid fermentation is mainly responsible for the souring of milk products and is used in the production of yogurt and other fermented milk products (e.g., cheese, buttermilk, and sour cream). However, lactic acid fermentation also occurs during the fermentation of sauerkraut, and in other vegetable and sourdough bread fermentation, and it has important roles in sausage maturation, and silage fermentation and stabilization. The bifid shunt occurs mainly in the human and animal large intestine, where bifidobacteria are among the most abundant of the microbial groups.

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