- Microorganisms and Food Fermentation
Fermentation is one of the oldest forms of food preservation technologies in the world. It is responsible for many properties of fermented foods, such as “avor, shelf life, texture, and health bene…ts. Food fermentation covers a wide range of microbial and enzymatic processing of food and ingredients to achieve desirable characteristics such as prolonged shelf life, improved safety, attractive “avor, nutritional enrichment, and promotion of health (Giraffa 2004; Sieuwerts et al. 2008). Fermentation is a relatively ef…cient, low-energy preservation process, which increases the shelf life and decreases the need for refrigeration or other forms of food preservation technology. Fermentation processes enhance food safety by reducing toxic compounds such as a“atoxins and cyanogens and producing antimicrobial factors such as lactic acid, bacteriocins, carbon dioxide, hydrogen peroxide, and ethanol, which facilitate inhibition or elimination of foodborne pathogens. Fermentation also improves the nutritional value of foods through the biosynthesis of vitamins, essential amino acids, and proteins, by improving protein and …ber digestibility, by enhancing micronutrient bioavailability, and by degrading antinutritional factors. It also provides a source of calories when used in the conversion into human foods or substrates that are unsuitable for human consumption. Therapeutic properties of fermented foods have also been reported. In addition to its nutritive, safety, and preservative effects, fermentation enriches the diet through the production of a diversity of “avors, textures, and aromas. It improves the shelf life of foods while reducing energy consumption required for their preparation. The production of fermented foods is also important in adding value to agricultural raw materials, thus providing income and generating employment (Giraffa 2004).