The potential for upgrading traditional fermented foods through biotechnology

  • O K Achi Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike P.M.B 7267 Umuahia Abia State, Nigeria
Keywords: Traditional fermented foods, biotechnology, upgrading potentials, microbiology research assessment


Fermented foods play an important socio–economic role in developing countries as well as making a major contribution to the protein requirements of natural populations. In general, traditional fermented foods are made under primitive conditions, which result in low yield and poor quality. This paper outlines the present status of some indigenous fermented foods and beverages with some information on the microbiology and biochemistry of the fermentations. Among these are ogi, a fermented cereal gruel used as a weaning food, pito and burukutu, alcoholic cereal beverages. Dawadawa from fermented oil seeds is also popular as nutritious non–meat protein foods, while serving as a condiments and flavors in soups. Traditionally, women carry out fermented food processing activities. The production is craft-based despite the dawn of science and technology. The techniques they use are labour intensive, time consuming and have low productivities, with success depending upon observation of good manufacturing practice. Factors contributing to lack of consumer appeal of indigenous manufactured foods will be also considered. In the change from craft to a technology based production system, several strategies should be adopted. These include the use of starter cultures, stabilization of spontaneous fermentations, and production of food processing enzymes. In view of the considerable range of technologies for improving traditional bioprocessing, the challenges and potential application of biotechnology in upgrading these foods will be discussed.

African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 4 (5), pp. 375-380, 2005

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eISSN: 1684-5315