What is Fermentation?
Fermentation in food is the breakdown of carbohydrates by the help of microorganisms or enzymes is known as fermentation. Fermentation of food helps in the production of organic acids, alcohol, etc., which not only help in preserving the food but may also produce distinctive new food products.
Conversion of lactose to lactic acid by the help of Streptococcus lactis bacteria is favoured by anaerobic conditions and is true fermentation; conversion of ethyl alcohol to acetic acid by Acetobacter aceti bacteria is favoured by aerobic conditions and is more correctly termed an oxidation father than a fermentation.
Sometimes the final results were obtained repeatedly, but this was not always so. It soon was also discovered that certain alcoholic fruit juices and sour milks would keep well, and so part of the food supply was converted into these ferms as a means of preservation.
Acetic, lactic and alcoholic are mainly three important kinds of fermentation involved in fruit and vegetable preservation of food. The product quality of vinegar, fermented pickles and alcoholic beverages totally depends upon the presence of acetic acid, lactic acid and alcohol, respectively.
Protection should be taken to exclude air from the fermented products to avoid further unwanted or secondary fermentation. Wines, cider and the vinegar, fermenting pickles and other fermenting beverage, etc., are prepare by these processes.
(A) Acetic acid fermentation in food
The production of vinegar (acetic acid) from fruit juices is one of the old organic acid fermetnations known. Acetic acid is produce by the oxidation of ethyl alcohol by bacteria such as Acetobacter aceti, A. orleansis, A. schutzenbachi and others. The biochemical reaction by which they form acetic acid from ethyl alcohol is as follows:
2CH₂CH₂OH + O₂ → 2CH₂CHO+ 2H₂O 2CH,CHO + 0,→ 2CH,COOH
Some Acetobacter species do not stop at the stage of acid production but continue the oxidation to carbon dioxide.
CH₂COOH +20₂ →2CO₂ + 2H₂O
(B) Lactic acid fermentation in food
Lactic acid fermentation as a good method of preservation is another ancient art of unknown origin. It was investigate by Pasteur.
Lactic acid fermentation is process an anaerobic intra-molecular oxidation-reduction. Both homofermentative and heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria consumed in food fermentation. In some cases, yeasts and moulds also participate along with lactic acid bacteria.
Important products prepare by lactic acid fermentation are given below along with microorganisms.
(C) Alcoholic fermentation in food
Ethyl alcohol can be produces by fermentation of any carbohydrate containing a fermentable sugar, or a polysaccharide that can be hydrolases to a fermentable sugar. Cider is one of the examples of alcoholic fermentation. It is contain about by yeasts.
The equation that explains the net of alcoholic fermentation by yeast is given as below:
CH₁206 + yeast → 2C₂H₂OH + 2CO₂ Ethyl alcohol
Here a sugar is the substrate and the process is anaerobic. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is commonly employe for fermentation. It is important that the yeast must have a high tolerance activity for alcohol and must grow vigorously and produce a large quantity of alcohol.
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