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FEMS Yeast Res. 2003 Apr;3(2):191-200.

Occurrence and taxonomic characteristics of strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae predominant in African indigenous fermented foods and beverages.

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  • 1Department of Dairy and Food Science, Food Microbiology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Rolighedsvej 30, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.


Indigenous fermented foods and beverages play a major role in the diet of African people. The predominant yeast species seen is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, involved in basically three groups of indigenous fermented products: non-alcoholic starchy foods, alcoholic beverages and fermented milk. These products are to a great extent made by spontaneous fermentation and consequently S. cerevisiae often coexists with other microorganisms even though a microbiological succession usually takes place both between and within species. The functions of S. cerevisiae are mainly related to formation of alcohols and other aroma compounds, but stimulation of e.g. lactic acid bacteria, improvement of nutritional value, probiotic effects, inhibition of undesired microorganisms and production of tissue-degrading enzymes may also be observed. Several different isolates of S. cerevisiae have been shown to be involved in the fermentations and some of the isolates show pheno- and genotypic characteristics that deviate from those normally recognised for S. cerevisiae.

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