Difference Between Alcohol and Lactic Acid Fermentation (With Table)

Fermentation is required because it aids in the utilisation of energy from consumed food. Fermentation is the anaerobic breakdown of molecules. The extraction of energy from carbohydrates occurs in the absence of oxygen during fermentation. Zymology is the scientific study of fermentation. To make food and beverages, we use the fermentation process. Sour foods like cucumbers, yoghurt, and kimchi are preserved via lactic acid fermentation. Alcoholic fermentation is used in the production of alcoholic drinks such as wine and beer. Industrial fermentation is widely employed in the production of chemicals, enzymes, and proteins.

Alcohol vs Lactic Acid Fermentation

The main difference between Alcohol and Lactic acid fermentation is that Alcoholic fermentation creates ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, whereas Lactic acid fermentation makes lactic acid molecules from pyruvate. On the other hand, Alcohol fermentation can take place under aerobic or anaerobic conditions.

Alcohol fermentation can occur in yeast or bacteria. Ethanol and carbon dioxide are the end products of alcohol production. As a result, alcohol fermentation is commonly utilised to make beer, wine, and bread. The carbon dioxide produced by alcohol fermentation causes the bubbles we perceive in alcoholic beverages. Alcohol fermentation can take place in an aerobic or anaerobic environment. Plant tissues and some bacteria undergo alcoholic fermentation.

Lactic acid fermentation is carried out by certain microorganisms. It is also carried out by human muscle cells when there is a heavy workout. Lactic acid is the end product of the fermentation of lactic acid. Glucose and disaccharides are turned into energy in this metabolic process. The process is anaerobic, which means it can occur without the presence of oxygen. Lactic acid fermentation is utilized in the manufacturing of yoghurt and cheese. Pyruvate is converted to lactic acid molecules during lactic acid fermentation.

Comparison Table Between Alcohol and Lactic Acid Fermentation

Parameters of ComparisonAlcohol FermentationLactic acid Fermentation
Products Glucose is transformed to ethanol and carbon dioxide during alcohol fermentation.Glucose is transformed to lactate and cellular energy during lactic acid fermentation.
Use The fermentation of alcohol is utilised in the production of bread, wine, and beer.Yogurt and cheese are both made via lactic acid fermentation.
Enzymes In alcohol fermentation, two enzymes are involved: pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase.Lactate dehydrogenase and pyruvate decarboxylase are the enzymes involved in this type of fermentation.
OccurrenceYeast and other microbes undergo alcoholic fermentation.Lactic acid fermentation occurs in lactobacillus, yeast and muscle cells.
ProcessGlycolysis, decarboxylation, and reduction are all involved in alcohol fermentation.Hydrolysis, glycolysis, and reduction are all involved in lactic acid fermentation.

What is Alcohol Fermentation?

Sugar is transformed into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide during alcohol fermentation. However, glucose is first transformed to pyruvic acid, a process known as glycolysis, and then to ethanol and carbon dioxide, a process known as fermentation. This method is used by alcoholic beverage and bread makers.

Alcohol fermentation is carried out by yeasts, and oxygen is not required for this process to take place. Ethanol fermentation is another name for alcohol fermentation. An interesting fact is that alcohol fermentation occurs along with lactic acid fermentation in some types of fish and it provides energy to them when there is no oxygen.

Alcohol fermentation is used to make ethanol fuel, alcoholic beverages like wine and beer, and bread dough rise. During alcohol production, yeast such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces are utilised. In the absence of oxygen, alcohol fermentation occurs in the cytoplasm of yeasts.

What is Lactic Acid Fermentation?

Animals and certain types of bacteria use this sort of fermentation. Lactic acid bacteria are important in the preservation and production of a wide range of foods. Lactic acid fermentation is a low-cost process. Lactic acid fermentation is an anaerobic respiration process carried out by lactobacillus and other bacteria. In anaerobic conditions, it creates ATP.

Lactic acid fermentation can take place in our muscle cells as well. When we engage in strenuous activity or run a marathon, our bodies manufacture lactic acid through lactic acid fermentation. We experience muscle tiredness and soreness as lactic acid accumulates in muscle cells as fermentation progresses. The reason for this is that during strenuous activity, our respiratory and cardiovascular systems are unable to carry oxygen to the muscle cells, and as a result, lactic acid fermentation occurs to allow the continued generation of ATP.

Lactic acid is a byproduct of lactic acid fermentation. Fermentation of lactic acid is also used to make yoghurt and cheese.

Main Differences Between Alcohol and Lactic Acid Fermentation

  1. Glucose is transformed to ethanol and carbon dioxide during alcohol fermentation, but glucose is converted to lactic acid during lactic acid fermentation.
  2. Alcohol fermentation happens in yeasts and microorganisms, while, Lactic acid fermentation happens in muscle cells, yeasts, and some bacteria.
  3. Wine, beer, and bread dough are all made by alcohol fermentation, but yoghurt and cheese are made through lactic acid fermentation.
  4. Lactobacillus is the most frequent microbe in alcohol fermentation, while yeast is the most common bacterium in lactic acid fermentation.
  5. Alcohol fermentation enzymes include pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase, while lactic acid fermentation enzymes include lactate dehydrogenase.


Humans require the fermentation of alcohol and lactic acid in their daily existence. These aid in the manufacture and preservation of food. However, both type of fermentation has to go through glycolysis to produce by-products. Alcohol fermentation yields ethanol and carbon dioxide from pyruvate, while lactic acid fermentation yields lactic acid molecules.

Alcohol fermentation is important in the production of wine and beer, as well as in industry. Lactic acid fermentation is a chemical reaction that takes place in human muscle cells. Under anaerobic or no-oxygen conditions, both of these processes yield energy. Lactic acid fermentation occurs in animal muscle cells and other microbes, whereas alcohol fermentation happens largely in plant tissue and bacteria.

Both of these processes have their significance and are extremely significant in the industrial world. These types of processes aid humans in keeping and manufacturing specific types of food, and so are extremely important.


  1. https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0717-34582004000200008&script=sci_arttext&tlng=e
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jctb.449