Fermentation facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Production of cheese 2
Fermentation of cheese

Fermentation is when a cell uses sugar for energy without using oxygen at the same time.

'Fermentation' also describes growing microorganisms on a growth medium. This is done to get a chemical product. French microbiologist Louis Pasteur studied fermentation and its microbial causes. The science of fermentation is known as zymology.

Yeast is an organism that ferments. When yeast ferments sugar, the yeast eats sugar and produces alcohol. This is used to make beverages or biofuel and to make bread rise. Yeast can be also used to grow bakery products like bread and cakes faster. In some cases yeast might be used to speed up the process of creation of wine.

Other cells make vinegar or lactic acid when they ferment sugar. In a different way, the fermentation process can continue and turn the alcohol into vinegar i.e. acetic acid.

Types of fermentation

When yeast ferments, it breaks down the glucose (C6H12O6) into ethanol (CH3CH2OH) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

  • Ethanol fermentation always produces ethanol and carbon dioxide. It is important in bread-making, brewing, and wine-making.
  • Lactic acid fermentation produces lactic acid. It happens in muscles of animals when they need lots of energy fast. The pain of a cramped muscle is caused by the build-up of lactic acid. The pain eases as the product is taken away by the blood supply.

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Fermentation Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.