alexa CELLULAR METABOLISM AND FERMENTATION

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CELLULAR METABOLISM AND FERMENTATION

Under anaerobic conditions, the absence of oxygen, pyruvic acid can be routed by the organism into one of three pathways: lactic acid fermentation, alcohol fermentation, or cellular (anaerobic) respiration. Humans cannot ferment alcohol in their own bodies, we lack the genetic information to do so. These biochemical pathways, with their myriad reactions catalyzed by reaction-specific enzymes all under genetic control, are extremely complex. We will only skim the surface at this time and in this course. Alcohol fermentation is the formation of alcohol from sugar. Yeast, when under anaerobic conditions, convert glucose to pyruvic acid via the glycolysis pathways, then go one step farther, converting pyruvic acid into ethanol, a C-2 compound. Many organisms will also ferment pyruvic acid into, other chemicals, such as lactic acid. Humans ferment lactic acid in muscles where oxygen becomes depleted, resulting in localized anaerobic conditions. This lactic acid causes the muscle stiffness couch-potatoes feel after beginning exercise programs. The stiffness goes away after a few days since the cessation of strenuous activity allows aerobic conditions to return to the muscle, and the lactic acid can be converted into ATP via the normal aerobic respiration pathways.

 
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