With the discovery of microorganisms, it became possible to understand and manage food fermentations. Methods for isolating and purifying microbial cultures became available in the 19th century. Sterilization or pasteurization of the raw materials prior to inoculation with well-defined cultures allowed the fermentation processes to be managed with little variation. The use of defined cultures became the industrial standard in breweries by the 19th century. During the 20th century, the wine, dairy, and meat industries also shifted production procedures toward the use of well-characterized and defined starter cultures. The application of microbiology and process technology resulted in large improvements in the quality of the fermented food products. The quality improvements have been so great that today all significant production of fermented food is industrial, or at least professionally performed. The small amount of ''home fermentations'' conducted in the form of baking, home brewing, and private cheese making usually rely on commercially available yeast and bacterial cultures. The maintenance of the microorganisms differs between the different food industries in the sense that some fermentation industries such as breweries and vinegar producers maintain their own strains and inocula. In the dairy industry, as well as in the meat industry and bakeries, cultures are usually obtained from suppliers dedicated to the production of high-quality food ingredients.
Was this article helpful?