Fermentation (food)

Fermentation (food)

Fermentation in food processing typically refers to the conversion of sugar to alcohol using yeast under anaerobic conditions. A more general definition of fermentation is the chemical conversion of carbohydrates into alcohols or acids. When fermentation stops prior to complete conversion of sugar to alcohol, a stuck fermentation is said to have occurred. The science of fermentation is known as zymology.

Fermentation usually implies that the action of the microorganisms is desirable, and the process is used to produce alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and cider. Fermentation is also employed in preservation to create lactic acid in sour foods such as pickled cucumbers, kimchi and yogurt.


Since fruits ferment naturally, fermentation precedes human history. Since prehistoric times, however, humans have been controlling the fermentation process. The earliest evidence of winemaking dates from eight thousand years ago, in Georgia, in the Caucasus area.cite web |url=http://www.stonepages.com/news/archives/000498.html |title=8,000-year-old wine unearthed in Georgia|accessdate=2007-01-28 |date=2003-12-28 |format= |work= |publisher=The Independent] Seven-thousand-year-old jars of wine have been excavated in the Zagros Mountains in Iran, which are now on display at the University of Pennsylvania.cite web |url=http://www.museum.upenn.edu/new/research/Exp_Rese_Disc/NearEast/wine.shtml |title=Now on display . . . world's oldest known wine jar |accessdate=2007-01-28 |format= |work= ] There is strong evidence that people were fermenting beverages in Babylon circa 5000 BC,cite web |url=http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0560e/x0560e05.htm |title=Fermented fruits and vegetables. A global perspective |accessdate=2007-01-28 |format= |work=FAO Agricultural Services Bulletins - 134] ancient Egypt circa 3150 BC,cite journal |quotes= |last=Cavalieri |first=D |authorlink= |coauthors=McGovern PE, Hartl DL, Mortimer R, Polsinelli M. |year=2003 |month= |title=Evidence for S. cerevisiae fermentation in ancient wine. |journal=Journal of Molecular Evolution |volume=57 Suppl 1 |issue= |pages=S226–32 |id=15008419 |url=http://www.oeb.harvard.edu/hartl/lab/publications/pdfs/Cavalieri-03-JME.pdf |accessdate=2007-01-28|doi=10.1007/s00239-003-0031-2|format=Dead link|date=May 2008 ] pre-Hispanic Mexico circa 2000 BC, and Sudan circa 1500 BC.Dirar, H., (1993), The Indigenous Fermented Foods of the Sudan: A Study in African Food and Nutrition, CAB International, UK] There is also evidence of leavened bread in ancient Egypt circa 1500 BCSugihara, T.F., (1985), Microbiology of Breadmaking, in "."Microbiology of Fermented Foods", edited by Wood, B.J.B., Elsevier Applied Science Publishers, UK] and of milk fermentation in Babylon circa 3000 BC. The Chinese were probably the first to develop vegetable fermentation.

French chemist Louis Pasteur was the first known "zymologist", when in 1854 he connected yeast to fermentation. Pasteur originally defined fermentation as "respiration without air". Pasteur performed careful research and concluded;

The German Eduard Buchner, winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize in chemistry, later determined that fermentation was actually caused by a yeast secretion that he termed "zymase". [cite web| url=http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1929/press.html |title=The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1929|accessdate=2007-01-28]


The primary benefit of fermentation is the conversion of sugars and other carbohydrates, e.g., converting juice into wine, grains into beer, carbohydrates into carbon dioxide to leaven bread, and sugars in vegetables into preservative organic acids.

Food fermentation has been said to serve five main purposes:Steinkraus, K. H., Ed. (1995). Handbook of Indigenous Fermented Foods. New York, Marcel Dekker, Inc.]
* enrichment of the diet through development of a diversity of flavors, aromas, and textures in food substrates.
* preservation of substantial amounts of food through lactic acid, alcohol, acetic acid and alkaline fermentations.
* biological enrichment of food substrates with protein, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins.
* detoxification during food-fermentation processing.
* a decrease in cooking times and fuel requirements.

Fermentation has some uses exclusive to foods. Fermentation can produce important nutrients or eliminate antinutrients. Food can be preserved by fermentation, since fermentation uses up food energy and can make conditions unsuitable for undesirable microorganisms. For example, in pickling the acid produced by the dominant bacteria inhibit the growth of all other microorganisms. Depending on the type of fermentation, some products (e.g., fusel alcohol) can be harmful to people's health.

tuck fermentation

A "stuck fermentation" is where a fermentation has stopped before completion; i.e., before the anticipated percentage of sugars has been converted by yeast into alcohol or carbohydrates into carbon dioxide.

Typically, a stuck fermentation may be caused by:1) insufficient or incomplete nutrients required to allow the yeast to complete fermentation; 2) low temperatures, or temperature changes which have caused the yeast to stop working early; or 3) a percentage of alcohol which has grown too high for the particular yeast chosen for the fermentation.

Corrections to stuck fermentations may include: 1) repitching a different yeast 2) incorporation of nutrients in conjunction with the repitched yeast; 3) restoration of accommodative temperatures for the given yeast.

Fermented foods by region

* Worldwide: alcohol, wine, vinegar, olives, yogurt, bread, cheese
* Asia
** East and Southeast Asia: amazake, asinan, bai-ming, belacan, burong mangga, com ruou, dalok, doenjang (된장), douchi, jeruk, lambanog, kimchi (김치), kombucha, leppet-so, narezushi, miang, miso, nata de coco, nata de pina, natto, naw-mai-dong, pak-siam-dong, paw-tsaynob in snow (雪裡蕻), prahok, ruou nep, sake, seokbakji, soy sauce, stinky tofu, szechwan cabbage (四川泡菜), tai-tan tsoi, chiraki, tape, tempeh, totkal kimchi, yen tsai (醃菜), zha cai (榨菜)
** Central Asia: kumis (mare milk), kefir, shubat (camel milk)
** India: achar, appam, dosa, dhokla, dahi (yogurt), gundruk, idli, mixed pickle
* Africa: fermented millet porridge, garri, hibiscus seed, hot pepper sauce, injera, lamoun makbouss, laxoox, mauoloh, msir, mslalla, oilseed, ogi, ogili, ogiri
* Americas: chicha, elderberry wine, kombucha, pickling (pickled vegetables), sauerkraut, lupin seed, oilseed, chocolate, vanilla, tabasco, tibicos
* Middle East: kushuk, lamoun makbouss, mekhalel, torshi, boza
* Europe: rakfisk, sauerkraut, ogórek kiszony, surströmming, mead, elderberry wine, salami, prosciutto, cultured milk products such as quark, kefir, filmjölk, crème fraîche, smetana, skyr.
* Oceania: poi, kaanga pirau (rotten corn)

Fermented foods by type


cheonggukjang(청국장), doenjang(된장), miso (味噌(みそ)), natto(納豆(なっとう)), soy sauce, stinky tofu(臭豆腐), tempeh


amazake, beer, bread, choujiu, gamju(감주), injera, makgeolli, ogi, sake, sikhye, sourdough, rice wine, Malt whisky, grain whisky, Vodka, batter


kimchi(김치), mixed pickle, sauerkraut


wine, vinegar, cider


mead, metheglin


cheese, kefir, kumis (mare milk), shubat (camel milk), cultured milk products such as quark, filmjölk, crème fraîche, smetana, skyr, yogurt


bagoong, fish sauce, Hákarl, jeotgal (젓갈), rakfisk, shrimp paste, surströmming, heshikoHidal


salami, prosciutto

Risks of consuming fermented foods

Alaska, despite its small population, has witnessed a steady increase of cases of botulism since 1985. It has more cases of botulism than anywhere else in the United States of America.cite web|url=http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/phtn/botulism/alaska/alaska.asp|title=Why does Alaska have more botulism?|accessdate=2007-01-28] This is caused by the traditional Eskimo practice of allowing animal products such as whole fish, fish heads, walrus, sea lion and whale flippers, beaver tails, seal oil, birds, etc., to ferment for an extended period of time before being consumed. The risk is exacerbated when a plastic container is used for this purpose instead of the old-fashioned method, a grass-lined hole, as the botulinum bacteria thrive in the anaerobic conditions created by the plastic.Fact|date=January 2008

See also

* Brewing
* Fermentation (wine)
* Winemaking
* Fermentation (biochemistry)
* Fermentation lock
* Industrial fermentation
* Bletting
* Yeast
* Food microbiology
* Industrial microbiology


* The 1811 "Household Cyclopedia"

External links

* [http://members.ift.org/NR/rdonlyres/F5EBE3B9-F35D-4BFA-9FB8-2F0114866782/0/crfsfsv01n1p023027ms20001201.pdf Fermentations in world food processing (1st part, PDF file)]
* [http://members.ift.org/NR/rdonlyres/C650A4F0-39C8-4FC5-A034-A125FD44BCAE/0/crfsfsv01n1p028032ms20001201.pdf Fermentations in world food processing (2nd part, PDF file)]
* [http://www.scienceaid.co.uk/biology/microorganisms/fermentation.html Science aid: Fermentation - Process and uses of fermentation]
* [http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0560e/x0560e00.htm Fermented fruits and vegetables. A global perspective - FAO 1998]
* [http://www.fao.org/docrep/x2184e/x2184e00.htm Fermented cereals. A global perspective - FAO 1999]
* [http://www.washingtonwinemaker.com/blog/2007/09/11/restarting-a-stuck-fermentation/ Restarting a stuck fermentation]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fermentation (biochemistry) — Fermentation in progress: scum formed by CO2 gas bubbles and fermenting material. See also Fermentation for particular usages of the fermentation process Fermentation is the process of extracting energy from the oxidation of organic compounds,… …   Wikipedia

  • Fermentation — may mean: * Fermentation (biochemistry), the process of energy production in a cell under anaerobic conditions (without oxygen) * Ethanol fermentation, a form of anaerobic respiration used primarily by yeasts when oxygen is not present in… …   Wikipedia

  • Food preservation — Canadian World War I poster encouraging people to preserve food for the winter …   Wikipedia

  • Fermentation (wine) — Fermenting must. The process of fermentation in wine turns grape juice into an alcoholic beverage. During fermentation, yeast interact with sugars in the juice to create ethanol, commonly known as ethyl alcohol, and carbon dioxide (as a …   Wikipedia

  • Fermentation starter — Pain poolish a type of fermentation starter for bread Fermentation starters (called simply starters within the corresponding context) are preparations to assist the beginning of the fermentation process in preparation of various foods and… …   Wikipedia

  • Fermentation lock — The fermentation lock or airlock is a device used in beer brewing and wine making that allows carbon dioxide released by the beer to escape the fermenter, while not allowing air to enter the fermenter, thus avoiding oxidation.There are two… …   Wikipedia

  • Fermentation — Fer men*ta tion (f[ e]r m[e^]n*t[=a] sh[u^]n), n. [Cf. F. fermentation.] 1. The process of undergoing an effervescent change, as by the action of yeast; in a wider sense (Physiol. Chem.), the transformation of an organic substance into new… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fermentation by an unorganized ferment — Fermentation Fer men*ta tion (f[ e]r m[e^]n*t[=a] sh[u^]n), n. [Cf. F. fermentation.] 1. The process of undergoing an effervescent change, as by the action of yeast; in a wider sense (Physiol. Chem.), the transformation of an organic substance… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fermentation theory of disease — Fermentation Fer men*ta tion (f[ e]r m[e^]n*t[=a] sh[u^]n), n. [Cf. F. fermentation.] 1. The process of undergoing an effervescent change, as by the action of yeast; in a wider sense (Physiol. Chem.), the transformation of an organic substance… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Food microbiology — is the study of the microorganisms which inhabit, create or contaminate food. Of major importance is the study of microorganisms causing food spoilage.cite book | author = Fratamico PM and Bayles DO (editor). | title = Foodborne Pathogens:… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”