Molds Used for Fermentation of Indigenous Fermented Foods and Beverages

The most well known indigenous fermented products for which molds are involved in the fermentation are probably soy sauce and tempeh. Soy sauce is of Chinese or Japanese origin and is produced by an initial solid-stage mold fermentation of equal parts of cooked soybeans and roasted and crushed wheat, inoculated with conidia of Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus sojae. After fermentation for 3 days, the material is placed in brine (2225% [w/v] NaCl) for 6-8 months. During this phase, halophilic LAB and yeasts (Zygo-saccharomyces rouxii) occur either spontaneously or are added as starter cultures. Finally, the soy sauce is harvested by pressing and is then pasteurized. Tempeh originates from Java and Indonesia and is a solid-stage mold fermentation of soaked and cooked soybeans or other leguminous seeds or cereals. After boiling and cooling, the beans are inoculated with Rhizopus oligosporus and Rhizopus oryzae and packed. After fermentation for 24-48 hr the beans are tightened together due to mycelial growth. Fresh tempeh can be eaten after cooking or frying (146). Other examples of indigenous mold-fermented foods are sufu or furu, a Chinese soybean pasta produced by Actinomucor spp., Mucor spp., or Rhizopus spp. (149), and Japanese miso and shoyu produced by Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus sojae (150). Xerophilic molds such as Eurotium rubrum, Aspergillus wentii, and Aspergillus penicillioides have also been reported to be involved in the fermentation of Indonesian dry salted fish (151).

Especially in Asia, species of Aspergillus, Mucor, and Rhizopus are used as amylase producers for fermented beverages that are based on rice or wheat (150). An example is the production of sake, in which spores of Aspergillus oryzae are used to break down starch to fermentable carbohydrates that are then converted to alcohol by S. cerevisiae. Similarly, Aspergillus spp., Mucor spp., and Rhizopus spp. are used in the production of Chinese, Indian, and Thai spirits, wines, and beers (152).

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