Fermentation in the food industry is a method commonly used for the preservation of perishable foods. Being an old and traditional method of food preservation, fermentation has gained popularity in most communities due to its wide range of values and sensory attributes (Maggi et al., 2014). This method is preferred because it allows energy method of preservation, costs effective and thus ensures that foods are safe. In traditional foods, the fermentation of foods occurs in an uncontrolled manner. As a result, the fermented food products contain varying levels of quality and sensory features because they are prepared under varying climatic conditions. Other benefits associated with the fermentation of traditional foods include the reduction of food volume to enhance transportation, add nutritional value, lower the energy needed for cooking, change the appearance of food, make products that are safe for consumption and destroy unwanted materials. With the rise in health concerns, most people fear any more consumption of chemically produced. There is a possible shift into the traditionally fermented products which have been in use since time immemorial and were believed to have some medical benefits. Although their safety is of concern, the traditional fermented products are basically prepared from local agricultural products as raw materials.
There is a possibility that advances in the traditional fermentation of food products could help in the fight against malnutrition and food safety. Some of the raw materials that are used for fermentation of foods using microorganisms include maize, milk, sugar cane, cocoa among others. However, it is possible that there are some other compounds formed after traditional food fermentation that have no nutritional benefits and thus they are of no use to the consumer.
Benefits And Dangers Of Traditional Fermented Foods
Benefits (using cereals as an example)
Cereals form a large proportion of the meals for the people, with maize being the widely consumed cereal globally. Being a source of energy, maize is rich in carbohydrates but poor in proteins. Maize also contains some anti-nutritional elements like phytates, lectins and trypsin inhibitors. Phytates is a major form of storage for phosphorous in legumes and grains (Olaniyi et al., 2015). Thus in order to obtain phytates from maize, only animals that have the enzyme phytases in their intestines can degrade phytates, of which humans lack this enzyme. In order to improve the nutritional composition of maize, traditional fermentation methods have been widely adopted. Fermentation of maize improves the long storage abilities, enhances value and increases the nutritional composition of maize derived products. For instance, fermentation of maize results in increased vitamins which normally are absent from maize such as vitamin A, B12, as well as amino acids methionine and arginine. As such, the process of fermentation of traditional foods is termed as being beneficial in lowering the possibility of the mineral deficiency in people. Examples of fermentation products from maize in Colombia are chichi and champus.
This paper aims at determining the safety of traditional fermented food products.
To find out understand fermentation of foods from a traditional perspective.
To find out the benefits linked to consumption of traditional fermented food products.
To find out the disadvantages of consumption of traditional fermented food products.
Dangers of traditional foods
Although there are several benefits derived in the use of traditional fermented foods, there are some risks which arise. For instance, in the production of kumis in Colombia, there is a production of biogenic amines like tyramine and histamine. Although these products pose potential harm to the kumis users, they cannot be avoided because they are part of the fermented products. For instance, histamine is known to cause mental distress because it has effects on the blood and nervous system especially when the consumers are too sensitive or are under some medications. Most of the fermented foods use yeasts and lactic acid bacteria and hence obtain the ability to get preserved for a long time (Leroy & De Vuyst, 2004). Moreover, the microbial compounds contained in these foods have nutritional benefits to the consumers. However, there is a need to develop traditionally fermented food products which are specific for consumers with varied health requirements through the use of advanced multifunctional starter cultures. For the fermented traditional foods which are prepared at homes, the temperatures used for incubation fluctuate from time to time because there are no mechanisms in place to keep them under control. The environment thus creates a selective pressure which favors some microbial species to dominate the culture system (Adams et al,., . The quality of the traditional fermented products also depends on the quality of the raw materials used as well as the hygienic conditions during )the process of fermentation. The use of microorganisms for the process of fermentation is associated with a possible exposure to foods to food borne diseases (Robinson, 2014). For example, there is increased fungal growth in raw materials like cassava, cocoa, and maize leading to the production of mycotoxins. On the other hand, maize and milk are in most cases prone to contamination with aflatoxins even in the final fermented product (Srey et al., 2013).
It is thus important that more innovations are made in the fermentation of foods so that they can produce various products which can meet the medical needs of all consumers. Moreover, the fermentation conditions like temperatures should be controlled so as to give rise to uniform products.
There are both beneficial as well detrimental effects of traditional fermented foods. While these foods degrade antinutritional factors and increase the bioavailability of some vitamins, there is a need for deeper research in future concerning the elimination of detrimental effects and reduction in foodborne microorganisms.
Leroy, F., & De Vuyst, L. (2004). Lactic acid bacteria as functional starter cultures for the food fermentation industry. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 15(2), 67-78.
Adams, M. R., Moss, M. O., & McClure, P. (2015). Food microbiology. Food microbiology., (Ed. 4).
Robinson, R. K. (2014). Encyclopedia of food microbiology. C. A. Batt (Ed.). Academic press.
Srey, S., Jahid, I. K., & Ha, S. D. (2013). Biofilm formation in food industries: a food safety concern. Food Control, 31(2), 572-585.
Olaniyi, O. O., Bankefa, E. O., Folasade, I. O., & Familoni, T. V. (2015). Nutrient Enrichment of Mannanase-Treated Cassava Peels and Corn Cob. Research Journal of Microbiology, 10(11), 533.
Maggi, A., Umeakunne, K., & Katz, S. (2014, October). Food Fermentation: Connecting Ancient Traditions with Science. In Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. Atlanta, GA (Vol. 19).