Alcohol dehydrogenase is any of the dehydrogenase enzymes that catalyze the interconversions between primary alcohols and aldehydes, and between secondary alcohols and ketones. In mammals, the interconversion occurs in a redox reaction such that it also leads to the conversion of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide from the oxidized form (NAD+) into reduced form (NADH). For instance, in the case of ethanol, acetaldehyde is reduced to ethanol in the presence of NADH and hydrogen. In yeasts and certain bacteria, some alcohol dehydrogenases are used to catalyze the reduction of acetaldehyde to ethanol for a constant supply of NAD+. This aspect of fermentation is exploited in the alcoholic beverage industry whereby yeasts ferment fruits or grains to produce ethanol for making alcoholic beverages. Abbreviation: ADH. Synonym: aldehyde transhydrogenase.
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