Bio Technology : Food Fermentation Vol I
About this eBook
The man learnt the art o f fermentation more as an accident than the result of a systematic investigation. As an agriculturist, he faced the problem o f storage of a large quantity o f surplus agricultural produce and the necessity invented the process of fermentation, and he became the first Biotechnologist . Later on, with the development o f taste, the fermented products became indispensable part of his food. Undoubtedly, the first fermented product prepared and consumed by the ancient man was the fermented juice or the wine, which became intimately connected with the human civilization and is the most important fermented product consumed by man even today The wide acceptance o f the fermented products as a food further accelerated the development of the fermentation industry as a part of the food industry which originated in the medieval empiricism, lacking the intellectual stimulus of genetic manipulation and sophisticated bioengineering of 20th century science. Application of fermentation as a low cost preservation technique, has immense potential in the developing countries where a huge quantity of perishables are wasted, owing to the lack of proper postharvest infrastructure. Some o f the fermented products have been and could be a great source o f nutrition, besides palate satisfaction. The food fermentation industry utilizes the ability of growth o f micro-organisms on various substrates for the production of fermented foods, a variety of beverages, bread, cheese, idli, dosa, tofu, tempeh and fruits, and vegetable fermented pickles. The ever increasing knowledge about the microbial metabolism has extensively been used in the industrial production of different additives. Microbial systems, due to development o f sophisticated and specialized methods for survival in nature, interact and metabolize and or synthesize a wide variety of substrates, both from the microorganism s existing in nature or those genetically engineered. The latter methodology has certainly opened new avenues for wider applications including higher potential for their utilization in the production of ingredients and processing aids for the food industry vitam ins, amino acids, flavours, sweeteners, xanthan gums . It is an area where fermentation has a great role to play in future also. A considerable research has been directed on the screening o f useful m icroorganism s, biochem istry o f fermentation, development o f specific processes, machinery and equipment in the usage of fermentation processes, methods for toxicity assessment, spoilage prevention, nutritional evaluation, modification of flavour and taste, maturation process, microbe based colours or other such additives. The application of biotechnologically altered micro-organisms, enzymes production, immobilized enzymes, continuous fermentation, solid state fermentation, single cell proteins etc. are some of the recent approaches in food fermentation industry which can enhance the economic returns. The value of a technology without commercial realization is nil as the calorific value of food w'hich is not eaten is zero. Strong
linkage between the research and industry is most essential but it is not universal as several industrial units are based more on the practical skills rather than the sound scientific knowledge. A research based manuscript is one of the strongest links between the research and industry for percolation o f research into the industry, as such or through the trained manpower to man th e industrial enterprises.