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Pronunciation: fer'men-ta'shun


  1. A chemical change induced in a complex organic compound by the action of an enzyme, whereby the substance is split into simpler compounds.
  2. In bacteriology, the anaerobic dissimilation of substrates with the production of energy and reduced compounds; the mechanism of fermentation does not involve a respiratory chain or cytochrome, hence oxygen is not the final electron acceptor as it is in oxidation.

[L. fermento, pp. -atus, to ferment, from L. fermentum, yeast]

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.