Industrial Fermentation

As indicated above, natural fermentation is widely diffuse in several ecological niches where the conditions of anae-robiosis, high concentrations of carbohydrates (the Crabtree effect), or the lack of carbohydrates (fermentation of amino acids) determine the predominant fermenting organisms. All fermentative processes that are today devoted to food and animal feed transformation and preservation have ancient origins and have been traditionally carried out by the microorganisms naturally present in the substrates. The advent of industrialization, the construction of appropriate equipment, and the development of microbiology as an applied science have led the development of the fermentation industry, transforming a great number of the natural fermentation processes into industrial-scale fermentation. These transformations have been applied to wine, beer, distilled beverages and bread industries where alcoholic fermentation is mainly involved, and to the dairy and meat transformation industries, in which lactic fermentation is the main fermentation process. In these fermentation industries, the use of selected starter cultures during different stages of the fermentation processes has become progressively diffuse. The aim of this procedure is to improve the management of the fermentation process through avoidance of the development of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms, and enhancement of the quality of the final product. Table 2 lists these main fermentation processes that are involved in the food and animal-feed industries.

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