Probiotic potential of spontaneously fermented cereal based foods – A review
AbstractThe realization that food has a role beyond provision of energy and body forming substances has shifted scientific investigations with growing interest in the research and development of functional foods. A lot of attention is being focused on probiotics due to the enormous support showing health benefits. Probiotics are associated with fermented foods and it is therefore of importance that spontaneously fermented foods, that are so common in Africa, be assessed for their probiotic attributes. These foods are within the economic means of the people and are widely accepted in populations where they are produced. The foods have relatively long shelf-lives under ambient temperatures (without spoiling), are widely accepted especially by the vulnerable groups such as children, expectant/breastfeeding mothers, the aged and are commonly served to the sick and recovering persons. These foods would therefore render an invaluable health benefit to communities when consumed and would impart an invaluable economic benefit to society. Probiotics are associated
with lactic acid bacteria that are commonly found in fermented foods. This paper reviews studies that have been carried out to enumerate, isolate, characterize and identify the microorganisms involved in the spontaneous fermentations of cereal based products and their assessments for potential probiotic attributes.