Alcohol vs Lactic Acid Fermentation: Difference and Comparison

The fermentation process is essential for our body’s functioning. It is a chemical reaction that takes place inside the body. In this process, molecules of glucose are broken down.

The process is anaerobic, which means that energy is released, and the reaction takes place without the presence of oxygen. For example, in the making of wine and alcoholic drinks, foaming occurs, which reflects that it is the fermentation process.

Alcohol and Lactic Acid Fermentation are fermentation processes, but the difference is seen in their end products or the products resulting after the fermentation process.

The Lactic Acid Fermentation process is seen in the human body in building up muscles and is also involved in curd-making. In contrast, Alcohol Fermentation is involved in yeast processes and producing alcoholic drinks like beer, wine, etc.

Key Takeaways

  1. Alcohol fermentation produces ethanol and carbon dioxide, while lactic acid fermentation generates lactic acid.
  2. Yeast and certain bacteria perform alcohol fermentation, whereas lactic acid fermentation occurs in muscle cells and some bacteria.
  3. Alcohol fermentation is used in brewing and winemaking, while lactic acid fermentation is vital for yogurt and cheese production.

Alcohol vs Lactic Acid Fermentation 

Alcohol fermentation, is a term used to describe a process where glucose is broken down into ethanol and carbon dioxide. It produces ethanol and carbon dioxide. Lactic acid fermentation, is a process where glucose is converted into lactic acid. lactic acid fermentation produces lactic acid.

Alcohol vs Lactic Acid Fermentation

Alcohol fermentation is a biological reaction. In this reaction, sugars like fructose, glucose, and sucrose are converted into cellular energy, which helps the cell’s functioning.

And the result of this reaction produces ethanol and carbon dioxide. It is an anaerobic reaction because it takes place without oxygen, and mostly this process is seen in yeasts.

Lactic Acid fermentation is considered a metabolic process in which glucose and other types of sugars, like disaccharides etc., are converted into energy or cell energy. It also produces an acid called Lactic acid.

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This reaction is also anaerobic and is seen in some bacteria in animal cells, such are muscle cells, also known as myocytes.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAlcohol FermentationLactic Acid Fermentation
DefinitionAlcohol Fermentation signifies a metabolic process with the help of which glucose is converted into ethanol and carbon dioxide. Lactic Acid Fermentation signifies a metabolic process in which glucose is converted into lactate and cellular energy.
Steps involved The Alcohol Fermentation process takes place in two steps. The Lactic Acid Fermentation Process is short, and the whole process involves only one step.
OccurrenceThis process occurs in yeasts and other microorganisms. The Lactic Acid Fermentation process occurs in lactobacillus species, yeasts, and muscle cells.
Process namesAlcohol fermentation involves two processes one is pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase. It involves lactate dehydrogenase and pyruvate decarboxylase.
UsageIt makes bread, beer, wine, vinegar, and other alcoholic drinks. It is used in the manufacture of yogurt and cheese, etc.
Produces Alcohol fermentation produces ethanol and carbon dioxide from its pyruvate molecule. Lactic Acid fermentation builds lactic acid molecules from the pyruvate.

What is Alcohol Fermentation?

Alcohol, also known as ethanol, is made through a fermentation reaction which is called an Alcohol fermentation reaction. The absence of oxygen is a suitable condition for this reaction to occur.

This chemical reaction produces two important substances as its by-products: ethanol and carbon dioxide (CO2). Fishes also go through this reaction, and it provides them with cellular energy.

The by-product of this reaction, that is ethanol, is very much demanded by the markets. It is used in making lacquers like wine, beer, whiskey, etc., and has several medical uses.

It is also antiinfective in nature, which is why it is used in cleaning chemicals, sanitisers etc. Ethanol can also be made without the fermentation process, and that ethanol is called synthetic ethanol.

If oxygen is involved in the alcohol fermentation process, it will not produce the required ethanol; instead, it will produce CO2 and water as its by-products.

This reaction also occurs in bread making, where yeasts consume sugar, and by-products are released.

alcohol fermentation

What is Lactic Acid Fermentation?

The Lactic Acid fermentation process signifies a metabolic process in which sugars and their variants are converted into lactate and cellular energy.

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This process also does not require oxygen; if oxygen is present, many organisms will not go through this creation; instead, they will do cellular respiration.

But some organisms, like facultative ones, can do both reactions in the presence of oxygen.

The commonly known product which is produced through Lactic Acid fermentation is yogurt. It is a very popular dairy industry product that is consumed worldwide.

Some of the main Lactic acid-forming bacterial strains are Escherichia, Enterobacter, and Citrobacter. And one of the most important bacteria that does Lactic Acid fermentation is lactobacillus bacteria.

Lactic Acid fermentation is the main cause of muscle cramps in our body. It occurs because of a lack of oxygen which happens after an intense amount of work or exercise and thus results in Lactic Acid fermentation in our muscles.

Main Differences Between Alcohol and Lactic Acid Fermentation

  1. Alcohol Fermentation signifies a metabolic process with the help of which glucose (C6H12O6) is converted into ethanol and carbon dioxide. On the other hand, Lactic Acid Fermentation signifies a metabolic process in which glucose is converted into lactate and cell energy.
  2. The Lactic Acid Fermentation Process is short, and the whole process involves only one step. Whereas The Alcohol Fermentation process takes place in two steps and takes more time.
  3. Alcohol fermentation involves two processes one is pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase. While Lactic Acid fermentation involves lactate dehydrogenase and pyruvate decarboxylase.
  4. The Lactic Acid Fermentation process occurs in lactobacillus species, yeasts, and muscle cells. And the Alcohol fermentation process occurs in yeasts and other microorganisms.
  5. Lactic Acid fermentation builds lactic acid molecules from the pyruvate molecules. Whereas Alcohol fermentation produces ethanol and carbon dioxide from its pyruvate molecule.
Difference Between Alcohol and Lactic Acid Fermentation
References
  1. https://www.osti.gov/etdeweb/biblio/5086960
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0734975007000961

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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16 thoughts on “Alcohol vs Lactic Acid Fermentation: Difference and Comparison”

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