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Food Microbiol. 2012 Oct;32(1):20-31. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 May 29.

Controlled fermentation of kimchi using naturally occurring antimicrobial agents.

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Graduate School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University, Anam-dong, Sungbuk-ku, Seoul 136-701, Republic of Korea.


Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented food. Since it ferments continuously during distribution and storage, the extension of shelf life by preventing over-acidification is a major concern in the kimchi industry. One of the most frequently attempted ways to delay fermentation is to add naturally occurring antimicrobial agents. Many researchers have investigated ways to delay over-acidification by adding minor ingredients, fruits or fruit seed extracts, extracts of medicinal herbs, culinary herbs and spices, and other miscellaneous substances to kimchi. The addition of naturally occurring antimicrobial agents may enhance the acceptability of kimchi to consumers over a longer period of time but may also have a disadvantage in that it may cause changes in sensory quality, especially if added in large amounts. To avoid undesirable sensory changes, application of hurdle technologies (i.e., multifactor preservative systems) which involve using combinations of low amounts of various naturally occurring antimicrobial agents as ingredients should be explored with the goal of controlling fermentation. If synergistic or additive antimicrobial effects can be achieved using small amounts of a combination of natural agents, changes in sensory qualities will be minimized, thereby prolonging shelf life. Research findings summarized in this review provide a basis for developing effective hurdle technologies using naturally occurring antimicrobial agents to extend shelf life of kimchi and perhaps other types of traditional fermented foods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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