What Are the End Products of Fermentation?

Cultura RM/Chad Springer/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

The end products of fermentation are alcohol, carbon dioxide and lactic acid. The process is essential in the production of beer, fermented milk and bread. To arrive at these end products, sugars are broken down in a process called glycolysis. During the process, huge amounts of hydrogen atoms are produced and deposited on pyruvic acid, the end product of glucose.

Fermentation is the process whereby sugar is metabolically converted to acids, gases and alcohol. It occurs in bacteria and yeast in the absence of oxygen. As the chain that transports electrons is unusable, sugar becomes the cell’s basic means of energy. The process has been used extensively to convert juice into wine and grains into beer. Milk and other dairy foods such as cheese, buttermilk and curd are fermented with lactic acid bacteria to increase their shelf life. Additionally, fermentation enhances the taste and aroma of the products and improves digestibility. The Food and Agriculture Organization advises people living in food-insecure parts of the world to ferment milk, fruits and vegetables. This effectively preserves the foods for future use. Another benefit of fermentation is that it enriches the food with lactic acid, acetic acid, alcohol, protein, vitamins and essential amino acids while eradicating anti-nutrients. In addition, it reduces the time required to cook food, thus cutting down on fuel expenses.