Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel


  • Joachim Reitner
  • Volker Thiel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_90

Fermentation is a route of obtaining energy from the oxidation of organic substrates using an endogenous electron acceptor (usually an organic compound). The energy yield in fermenting systems is limited when compared to respiration. Nevertheless, fermentation still allows growth under conditions when external, inorganic electron acceptors are lacking, or when iron as part of the electron carriers in the respiratory chain is not available and therefore an electron transport chain cannot be synthesized. Common fermentation substrates are sugars, which are present in large amounts in the environment, for example, as photosynthesis products and constituents of plant cell wall material. Microbial sugar fermentation pathways encompass lactic acid fermentation, alcoholic fermentation, and propionate fermentation, according to the major metabolic products generated. Another important fermentation pathway is acetoclastic methanogenesis, that is, fermentation of acetate to CO2 and CH4, which...


Lactic Acid Alcoholic Fermentation Cell Wall Material Lactic Acid Fermentation Methanogenic Archaea 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Reitner
    • 1
  • Volker Thiel
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany