ETYM Cf. French fermentation.
The breakdown of sugars by bacteria and yeasts using a method of respiration without oxygen (anaerobic). Fermentation processes have long been utilized in baking bread, making beer and wine, and producing cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, and many other foodstuffs.
In baking and brewing, yeasts ferment sugars to produce ethanol and carbon dioxide; the latter makes bread rise and puts bubbles into beers and champagne. Many antibiotics are produced by fermentation; it is one of the processes that can cause food spoilage.
A chemical phenomenon in which an organic molecule splits into simpler substances; SYN. ferment.