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Int J Food Microbiol. 1999 Sep 15;50(1-2):131-49.

Food fermentations: role of microorganisms in food production and preservation.

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Department of Microbiology, University College, Cork, Ireland.


Preservation of foods by fermentation is a widely practiced and ancient technology. Fermentation ensures not only increased shelf life and microbiological safety of a food but also may also make some foods more digestible and in the case of cassava fermentation reduces toxicity of the substrate. Lactic acid bacteria because of their unique metabolic characteristics are involved in many fermentation processes of milk, meats, cereals and vegetables. Although many fermentations are traditionally dependent on inoculation from a previous batch starter cultures are available for many commercial processes such as cheese manufacture thus ensuring consistency of process and product quality. This review outlines the role of lactic acid bacteria in many such fermentations and the mechanisms of antibiosis with particular reference to bacteriocins and gives a brief description of some important fermented foods from various countries. It is anticipated that the contribution of the advances in lactic acid bacteria research towards improvement of strains for use in food fermentation will benefit both the consumer and the producer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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