With the #fermentation hashtag appearing in close to one million posts on Instagram, and growing by the minute, fermented foods and beverages are reaching new levels of popularity. Fermented foods and beverages such as yogurt, wine, beer, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, and miso are created with the help of microbes. During the fermentation process, the bacteria and other microbes, like yeasts, break down the food components, creating the special taste and appearance of fermented foods.
Three scientists and fermentation aficionados have created a new e-book titled 'Fermented Foods: microbiology, nutrition, health and culture', currently available only in Spanish. It tells the stories of many types of fermented foods around the world and adds a scientific perspective on their health benefits. The book includes the following sections:
- Fermentation: An anthropological view
- Variety of fermented foods in Japan and other East Asian countries, and the microorganisms involved in their fermentation
- Introduction to the intestinal microbiota: its role in health and the disease
- Consumption of probiotic fermented milk and its impact on the immune system
- Fermented milks, yogurts and probiotics
- Kefir and artisanal fermented foods
- Fermented meat sausages: Contribution of lactic bacteria in global quality
- Lactic fermentation of cereals and Andean ancestral grains
- Fermented vegetables and legumes
- Fermentation of fruit drinks and drinks
- Yeasts in beer and baked goods
- Role of fermented foods in diet
- Role of lactic acid in the beneficial effects of fermented foods
- Microbiological safety of fermented foods
- Fermented foods and chronic non-communicable diseases: A narrative review of the literature
- Fermentation and gastronomy: A cook among scientists, a scientist among cooks
The book editors are three scientists with a passion for fermentation: Alejandro Ferrari, Gabriel Vinderola, and Ricardo Weill. Ferrari is a biologist and scientific communications expert; Vinderola is Associate Professor at the National University of Litoral, Independent Researcher at the Industrial Dairy Institute in Argentina, and author of over 100 journal articles in the field of probiotics; Weill is an Argentinian dairy industry expert who first introduced Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in Argentinian fermented milks in the 1990s.
The book includes contributions from a variety of people, including Martin Russo, a professional chef in Argentina who specializes in fermentation. Russo takes the reader through his culinary career, with a trip through South America followed by an internship in fermentation in Mugaritz, Spain.
Vinderola, a current board member of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), says, "Fermentation has been rediscovered through the modern study of the microbiota and the recovery of old knowledge. Today's science allows us to see the functions of fermentation microbes that can make certain nutrients more bioavailable in foods. Fermentation can reduce certain anti-nutrients, generate a large number of potentially beneficial microorganisms, and transform the food by giving it unique a flavor, texture, and aroma."
He adds, "We wanted to create this book to round out people's knowledge about fermented foods. Nowadays fermented foods awaken a lot of interest - and our book adds the latest scientific perspectives on their benefits."
The Spanish e-book can be downloaded here.