Fermentation is the process of oxidizing pyruvate in the absence of oxygen. This process may be classified into many types but the two most commonly known are lactic acid fermentation and ethanol fermentation.
Lactic acid fermentation is known to occur in muscle cells, especially during a strenuous exercise, when the cells have reduced oxygen supply.
At first glance, fermentation of pyruvate to lactate might appear to be an optional add-on reaction to glycolysis. After all, couldn't cells growing in the absence of oxygen simply disregard pyruvate as a waste product? In the absence of fermentation, which products deried from glycolysis would accumulate in cells under anaerobic conditions? Could the metabolism of glucose via the glycolytic pathway continue in the absence of oxygen in cells that cannot carry out fermentation? Why or why not?
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