fermentation

noun
fer·​men·​ta·​tion | \ ˌfər-mən-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce fermentation (audio) , -ˌmen- \
plural fermentations

Definition of fermentation

1a : the enzyme-catalyzed anaerobic breakdown of an energy-rich compound (such as a carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol or to an organic acid) by the action of microorganisms (such as bacteria or yeast) that occurs naturally and is commonly used in the production of various products (such as food, alcoholic beverages, and pharmaceuticals) especially by controlling microbial enzymatic activity The wine then undergoes a long fermentation that results in a high alcohol content (15 to 17 percent) and a dry wine.— Kim Marcus The panda is quite unlike most other herbivores, however, whose digestive tracts contain bacteria and protozoans that break down hard-to-digest plant materials through fermentation.— Miriam Levine Helbok During a starter's fermentation, yeast produces alcohol, carbon dioxide, and sulfur compounds, all of which contribute to good bread's unique flavor.— J. Kenji Alt Cultured butter is made from cream in which fermentation—the conversion of milk sugars into lactic acid—has begun to take place.— Ben Mims broadly : any of various enzyme-catalyzed aerobic or anaerobic processes (such as oxidation) involving transformation of organic compounds Most of the catechins are oxidized during the natural fermentation process that converts fresh green tea leaves to black tea. Food & Fitness Advisor Tobacco fermentation is basically highly controlled composting, and releases many chemicals and impurities that would otherwise ruin the tobacco's flavor. — Tad Gage
b : an instance or occurrence of fermentation The process is simplicity itself—a couple of fermentations, a gradual tilting of the bottle to remove the sediment and a final addition of sugar to make it brut or doux.— Miles Kington The ancient Chinese also stored vegetables in a pickling brine with a vinegar base. Various vinegars, made from fermentations of rice, wheat, grapes, or even peaches, were used.— Nina Simonds
2 : ferment sense 2 Music concerts, poetry readings, and other progressive campus activities can produce intellectual fermentation and thought provoking ideas.— Robert Hoffman

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Examples of fermentation in a Sentence

a wave of immigration followed by a period of social fermentation
Recent Examples on the Web There are three common production methods: vacuum distillation, reverse osmosis, and arrested fermentation. Sarah Kloepple, Popular Mechanics, "The Science of Making Alcohol-Free Beer," 31 Dec. 2020 After a five-day fermentation, the whisky is double distilled to 86 proof (43% alcohol). Kevin Gray, Dallas News, "New Abasolo whisky from central Mexico is made with 100% ancestral corn," 24 Nov. 2020 During the fermentation stage, the lactic acid that was first produced during the initial pickling step proliferates. Amber Lee, Bon Appétit, "My Fridge Isn’t Complete Without a Massive Jar of Kimchi," 13 Nov. 2020 The warehouse space is filled with rows of silvery fermentation tanks; one wall is hung with the flags of Costa Rica, the United States, and Mexico; other walls are decorated with vast, colorful murals painted by artists from Chicago and Mexico. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Latinx Brewers Whose Trump-Branded Beer Became a Drink of the Resistance," 3 Nov. 2020 The winery is having to drain some of their fermentation tanks earlier than normal in hopes of avoiding smoke contamination from affecting the wine because the Glass Fire that raged through the area the day before. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "2020's fire damage to Napa wineries already far exceeds 2017, and it may not be done," 29 Sep. 2020 The microbes naturally found in vegetables kick-start the fermentation process, which continues for a few months until the mixture is ready to be blended, strained, and sold. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, "My Favorite Green Hot Sauce Is Very Much Alive," 23 Nov. 2020 Following the secondary fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in a cellar. Rachel King, Fortune, "Champagne is too special to be enjoyed only on special occasions. Here are 5 bottles to pop anytime this winter," 5 Dec. 2020 But enteric fermentation by beef cattle accounts for nearly 2 percent of total emissions in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. New York Times, "Belching Cows and Endless Feedlots: Fixing Cattle’s Climate Issues," 20 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fermentation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fermentation

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for fermentation

Time Traveler

The first known use of fermentation was in 1601

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Statistics for fermentation

Last Updated

26 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fermentation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fermentation. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for fermentation

fermentation

noun
fer·​men·​ta·​tion | \ ˌfər-mən-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce fermentation (audio) \

Kids Definition of fermentation

: a chemical breaking down of a substance (as sugar) that is controlled by an enzyme, usually does not require oxygen, and typically results in the production of alcohol and carbon dioxide

fermentation

noun
fer·​men·​ta·​tion | \ ˌfər-mən-ˈtā-shən, -ˌmen- How to pronounce fermentation (audio) \

Medical Definition of fermentation

: the enzyme-catalyzed anaerobic breakdown of an energy-rich compound (as a carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol or to an organic acid) by the action of microorganisms (as bacteria or yeast) that occurs naturally and is commonly used in the production of various products (as food, alcoholic beverages, and pharmaceuticals) especially by controlling microbial enzymatic activity … Pasteur proved that microorganisms cause fermentation, the process that turns grape juice into wine.— Ken Reese, Today's Chemist broadly : any of various enzyme-catalyzed aerobic or anaerobic processes (such as oxidation) involving transformation of organic compounds Most of the catechins are oxidized during the natural fermentation process that converts fresh green tea leaves to black tea. Food & Fitness Advisor

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Comments on fermentation

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