Fermentation pertains to the process of converting grape juice or natural sugars into ethyl alcohol by introducing the yeast or through the action of the yeast. The yeast consumes the sugar in the juice converting it into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The natural stopping point is at 15%.
Fermentation in the industrial context refers to the process of converting organic compounds, such as carbohydrates, into alcohol, gases, or organic acids, using microorganisms like yeast or bacteria. It is used in various industries, including food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.
Examples of fermentation in the food and beverage industry include:
- Beer and wine production: Fermentation is used to convert the sugars in malted barley or grapes into alcohol by yeast.
- Cheese production: Fermentation is used to acidify the milk by lactic acid bacteria, which helps to coagulate the milk proteins and form curds.
- Yogurt production: Fermentation is used to convert lactose into lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria, which gives yogurt its characteristic sour taste and thick texture.
In the pharmaceutical industry, fermentation is used to produce antibiotics, enzymes, and other drugs using bacteria or fungi. In the chemical industry, fermentation is used to produce organic acids and solvents like acetic acid and butanol.