Fermentation Meaning and Process, What Is Fermentation In Foods

Here are some of the things about fermentation that you should know.

FERMENTATION – Defining what fermentation is and what it does when it comes to foods that you probably don’t know yet.

The process of extracting energy from carbohydrates without using oxygen is called fermentation. This is the same process used to produce products like wines, beers, and yogurt.

Photo lifted from Harvard Health

Brittanica defined this as the “chemical process by which molecules such as glucose are broken down anaerobically”.

Some examples of this process are how yeast does the process of converting sugar to alcohol and the fermenting of bacteria to convert carbohydrates into lactic acid. The study of this process is called zymology.

It started as early as the 14th century and the term ferment was coined from the Latin word fervere, which means “to boil”. The first zymurgist or the first scientist to study this was Louis Pasteur but he was unsuccessful in his attempts.

It was German chemist Eduard Buechner, in 1897, who was able to discover the extracted fluid from the ground yeast could ferment a sugar solution. And also, that was how the science of biochemistry started.

Other products formed by this process are cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi, biofuels, and hydrogen gas. One fact, the same process is also happening in the digestive system of humans and other animals.

Meanwhile, there is also fermentation in foods. These foods have undergone controlled microbial growth and fermentation. Some foods to have undergone this process were mentioned above.

Cultured milk and yogurt, wine, beer, cider, tempeh, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented sausage are just some of its types. Actually, most foods can be fermented like vegetables, fruits, cereals, dairy, meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds. 

They are already nutritious in their original form but there are added health benefits when they get fermented such as probiotics and prebiotics.

Netsanet Shiferaw Terefe, in Reference Module in Food Science, 2016, said that food fermentation “is a food processing technology that utilizes the growth and metabolic activity of microorganisms for the stabilization and transformation of food materials.”


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