Fermentation and Enzymes

Authored by: Constantinos Katsimpouras , Paul Christakopoulos , Evangelos Topakas

Food Engineering Handbook

Print publication date:  November  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9781482261660
eBook ISBN: 9781482261684
Adobe ISBN:


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Fermented foods are food substrates that have been subjected to the action of edible microorganisms whose enzymes hydrolyze the polysaccharides, proteins, and lipids to nontoxic products with flavors, aromas, and textures pleasant and attractive to the human consumer (Steinkraus 2002). The term “fermentation,” from the Latin word fervere, in a more rigorous way describes a form of energy-yielding metabolic process from organic compounds, usually carbohydrates, without the involvement of an exogenous oxidizing agent (Bourdichon 2012). Fermentation is one of the oldest forms of food preservation as the origins of fermented foods in our diets date back many thousands of years (Campbell-Platt 1994). Chemical evidence enables the production of a fermented beverage from the Neolithic village of Jiahu in China to be traced back as far as 7000 BC (McGovern et al. 2004). The earliest evidence of wine production, dated to 5400–5000 BC, was found at the Hajji Firuz Tepe site in the northern Zagros Mountains in Mesopotamia (This et al. 2006). Similar evidence comes from the remains of juice grape extraction in the Neolithic site of Dikili Tash in Greece at the same period (Valamoti et al. 2007). Systematic analysis by microscopy of Egyptian bread loaves derived from several sites that span approximately 2000–1200 BC reveals their similarity to that of modern cereal foods (Samuel 1996). Fermentation processes, over the past half century, have improved to a great extent and have reached a point where desired compounds can be produced by carefully selecting starter bacteria and acquiring deep knowledge of the procedure and, hence, regulation of conditions (van Boekel et al. 2010).

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