Fermented dairy foods have constituted a vital part of the human diet in many regions of the world, having been consumed ever since the domestication of animals (Chandan 2006). Archeological …ndings (Chandan 2004, 2006; Chandan and Shahani 1993, 1995; Hutkins 2006; Tamime and Robinson 2007) associated with the Sumerians and Babylonians of Mesopotamia, the Pharaohs of northeast Africa, and the Indo-Aryans of the Indian subcontinent provide convincing evidence for their use dating back to thousands of years. Furthermore, the ancient Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine cites dadhi (modern dahi) for its health-giving and disease-…ghting properties (Aneja et al. 2002; Vedamuthu 2006). In general, cultured milk products resulted in the conservation of valuable nutrients and permitted their consumption over a period signi…cantly longer than milk. Besides, the conversion of milk to fermented milk generated distinct consistency, smooth texture, and unmistakable “avor coupled with food safety, portability, and novelty for consumers. Modern research data have revealed that fermentation modi…es certain milk constituents to enhance the nutritional status of the product. In addition, it is established that live and active cultures in signi…cant numbers in cultured milk confer distinct heath bene…ts beyond conventional nutrition. Fermented milk products may be termed as “functional foods” that have health bene…ts beyond conventional nutrition. [For more information on functional foods, the reader is referred to the publications of Shah (2001), Chandan and Shah (2006), and Chandan (2007).]
The variety of fermented milks in the world may be ascribed to various factors (Chandan 2002; Hirahara 2002; Ahmed and Wangsai 2007).