(1) A glucose molecule is broken down via glycolysis, yielding two pyruvate molecules. The energy released by this exothermic reactions is used to phosphorylate two ADP molecules, yielding two ATP molecules, and to reduce two molecules of NAD+ to NADH. (2) The two pyruvate molecules are broken down, yielding two acetaldehyde molecule and giving off two molecules of carbon dioxide. (3) The two molecules of NADH reduce the two acetaldehyde molecules to two molecules of ethanol; this converts NADH back into NAD+.
Ethanol fermentation, also called alcoholic fermentation, is a biological process which converts sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose into cellular energy, producing ethanol and carbon dioxide as by-products. Because yeasts perform this conversion in the absence of oxygen, alcoholic fermentation is considered an anaerobic process. It also takes place in some species of fish (including goldfish and carp) where (along with lactic acid fermentation) it provides energy when oxygen is scarce.
Ethanol fermentation is the basis for alcoholic beverages, ethanol fuel and bread dough rising.