Submitted to: Food Microbiology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2011
Publication Date: 11/1/2012
Citation: Breidt, F., McFeeters, R.F., Perez Diaz, I.M., Lee, C. 2012. Fermented Vegetables. In: Doyle, M.P., Buchanan, R.L., editors. Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 4th Ed. Washington, D.C.: ASM Press. p. 841-855.
Interpretive Summary: This comprehensive review of vegetable fermentation summarizes research and the technical details of commercial production practices. The chapter includes an overview of vegetable fermentation research from the 1900s to present microbiological, biochemical and genomics studies. A detailed description of commercial fermentation practices of the production of cucumber pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and olives is presented. For each of these fermentations the microbiology, biochemistry and large scale processing techniques are described. Also included is an in-depth analysis of biochemical factors affecting product quality and a review of the genetics of the lactic acid bacteria that are the primary organisms involved in these fermentations. The chapter is a revision of a previous college senior or graduate level food microbiology textbook chapter on this topic.
Technical Abstract: The wide variety of fermented foods of the world can be classified by the materials obtained from the fermentation, such as alcohol (beer, wine), organic acid such as lactic acid and acetic acid (vegetables, dairy), carbon dioxide (bread), and amino acids or peptides from protein (fish fermentations and others). Fermentation is one of the earliest preservation and/or production technologies developed by man. Today, industrial scale vegetable fermentation is carried out on a massive scale. In the US, companies producing fermented pickles can have as many as 1000 fermentation tanks of 40,000 L capacity, totaling 40 million liters at one location. During fermentation, diffusion of organic acids into the brine and the subsequent low pH that results influences microbial growth across the surface of the vegetable material. As sugars diffuse from the vegetables into the brine, the lactic acid bacteria grow rapidly. Because the lactic acid bacteria are more acid resistant than the spoilage microbiota, they dominate the brined vegetable fermentation. In this chapter we present a summary of commercial production practices, microbiology and biochemistry of cucumber, cabbage and olive fermentations.