Sec. Food Microbiology
Volume 7 - 2016 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00377
Review: Diversity of Microorganisms in Global Fermented Foods and Beverages
- 1Department of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, Sikkim University, Tadong, India
- 2Department of Animal Science and Technology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
- 3Advance Green Energy and Environment Institute, Handong Global University, Pohang-si, South Korea
Culturalable and non-culturable microorganisms naturally ferment majority of global fermented foods and beverages. Traditional food fermentation represents an extremely valuable cultural heritage in most regions, and harbors a huge genetic potential of valuable but hitherto undiscovered strains. Holistic approaches for identification and complete profiling of both culturalable and non-culturable microorganisms in global fermented foods are of interest to food microbiologists. The application of culture-independent technique has thrown new light on the diversity of a number of hitherto unknown and non-cultural microorganisms in naturally fermented foods. Functional bacterial groups (“phylotypes”) may be reflected by their mRNA expression in a particular substrate and not by mere DNA-level detection. An attempt has been made to review the microbiology of some fermented foods and alcoholic beverages of the world.
Traditionally, boiled rice is a staple diet with fermented and non-fermented legume (mostly soybeans) products, vegetables, pickles, fish, and meat in Far-East Asia, South Asia, North Asia, and the Indian subcontinent excluding Western and Northern India; while wheat/barley-based breads/loaves comprise a staple diet followed by milk and fermented milk products, meat, and fermented meats (sausages) in the Western and Northern part of India, West Asian continent, Europe, North America, and even in Australia and New Zealand (Tamang and Samuel, 2010). Sorghum/maize porridges, on the other hand, are the main courses of diet with many fermented and non-fermented sorghum/maize/millets, cassava, wild legume seeds, meat, and milk products in Africa and South America. Fermented foods are the hub of consortia of microorganisms, since they are either present as natural indigenous microbiota in uncooked plant or animal substrates, utensils, containers, earthen pots, and the environment (Hesseltine, 1979; Franz et al., 2014), or add starter culture(s) containing functional microorganisms (Holzapfel, 1997; Stevens and Nabors, 2009) which modify the substrates biochemically, and organoleptically into edible products that are culturally and socially acceptable to the consumers (Campbell-Platt, 1994; Steinkraus, 1997; Tamang, 2010b). Microorganisms convert the chemical composition of raw materials during fermentation, which enrich the nutritional value in some fermented foods, and impart health-benefits to the consumers (Steinkraus, 2002; Farhad et al., 2010; Tamang, 2015a).
Several researchers have reviewed the microbiology, biochemistry, and nutrition of fermented foods and beverages from different countries of Asia (Hesseltine, 1983; Steinkraus, 1994, 1996; Nout and Aidoo, 2002; Tamang et al., 2015); Africa (Odunfa and Oyewole, 1997; Olasupo et al., 2010; Franz et al., 2014); Europe (Pederson, 1979; Campbell-Platt, 1987; Wood, 1998); South America (Chaves-López et al., 2014), and North America (Doyle and Beuchat, 2013). Many genera/species of microorganisms have been reported in relation to various fermented foods and beverages across the world; the usage of molecular tools in recent years have helped to clarify, at least in part, the nomenclatural confusion and generalization caused by conventional (phenotypic) taxonomic methods. The present paper is an attempt to collate and review the updated information on microbiology of some globally fermented foods and beverages.
Microorganisms in Fermented Foods
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are widely present in many fermented foods and beverages (Stiles and Holzapfel, 1997; Tamang, 2010b). Major genera of the LAB such as Alkalibacterium, Carnobacterium, Enterococcus, Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, Oenococcus, Pediococcus, Streptococcus, Tetragenococcus, Vagococcus, and Weissella (Salminen et al., 2004; Axelsson et al., 2012; Holzapfel and Wood, 2014) have been isolated from various globally fermented foods and beverages.
Bacillus is present in alkaline-fermented foods of Asia and Africa (Parkouda et al., 2009; Tamang, 2015b). Species of Bacillus that are present, mostly in legume-based fermented foods, are Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, Bacillus circulans, Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus firmus, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus subtilis variety natto, and Bacillus thuringiensis (Kiers et al., 2000; Kubo et al., 2011), while strains of Bacillus cereus have been isolated from the fermentation of Prosopis africana seeds for the production of okpehe in Nigeria (Oguntoyinbo et al., 2007). Some strains of B. subtilis produce λ-polyglutamic acid (PGA) which is an amino acid polymer commonly present in Asian fermented soybean foods, giving the characteristic of a sticky texture to the product (Urushibata et al., 2002; Nishito et al., 2010).
The association of several species of Kocuria, Micrococcus (members of the Actinobacteria), and Staphylococcus (belonging to the Firmicutes) has been reported for fermented milk products, fermented sausages, meat, and fish products (Martín et al., 2006; Coton et al., 2010). Species of Bifidobacterium, Brachybacterium, Brevibacterium, and Propionibacterium are isolated from cheese, and species of Arthrobacter and Hafnia from fermented meat products (Bourdichon et al., 2012). Enterobacter cloacae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, K. pneumoniae subsp. ozaenae, Haloanaerobium, Halobacterium, Halococcus, Propionibacterium, Pseudomonas, etc. are also present in many global fermented foods (Tamang, 2010b).
Genera of yeasts reported for fermented foods, alcoholic beverages and non-food mixed amylolytic starters are mostly Brettanomyces, Candida, Cryptococcus, Debaryomyces, Dekkera, Galactomyces, Geotrichum, Hansenula, Hanseniaspora, Hyphopichia, Issatchenkia, Kazachstania, Kluyveromyces, Metschnikowia, Pichia, Rhodotorula, Rhodosporidium, Saccharomyces, Saccharomycodes, Saccharomycopsis, Schizosaccharomyces, Sporobolomyces, Torulaspora, Torulopsis, Trichosporon, Yarrowia, and Zygosaccharomyces (Watanabe et al., 2008; Tamang and Fleet, 2009; Lv et al., 2013).
Major role of filamentous molds in fermented foods and alcoholic beverages is the production of enzymes and the degradation of anti-nutritive factors (Aidoo and Nout, 2010). Species of Actinomucor, Amylomyces, Aspergillus, Monascus, Mucor, Neurospora, Parcilomyces, Penicillium, Rhizopus, and Ustilago are reported for many fermented foods, Asian non-food amylolytic starters and alcoholic beverages (Nout and Aidoo, 2002; Chen et al., 2014).
Taxonomic Tools for Identification of Microorganisms from Fermented Foods
Use of culture media may ignore several unknown non-culturable microorganisms that may play major or minor functional roles in production of fermented foods. Direct DNA extraction from samples of fermented foods, commonly known as culture-independent methods, is nowadays frequently used in food microbiology to profile both culturable and non-culturable microbial populations from fermented foods (Cocolin and Ercolini, 2008; Alegría et al., 2011; Cocolin et al., 2013; Dolci et al., 2015), provided that the amplification efficiency is high enough. PCR-DGGE analysis is the most popular culture-independent technique used for detecting microorganisms in fermented foods and thereby profiling both bacterial populations (Cocolin et al., 2011; Tamang, 2014) and yeast populations in fermented foods (Cocolin et al., 2002; Jianzhonga et al., 2009). Both culturable and non-culturable microorganisms from any fermented food and beverage may be identified using culture-dependent and -independent methods to document a complete profile of microorganisms, and also to study both inter- and intra-species diversity within a particular genus or among genera (Ramos et al., 2010; Greppi et al., 2013a,b; Yan et al., 2013). A combination of Propidium MonoAzide (PMA) treatment on samples before DNA extraction and molecular quantifying method can be used to accurately enumerate the viable microorganisms in fermented foods (Desfossés-Foucault et al., 2012; Fujimoto and Watanabe, 2013).
Molecular identification is emerging as an accurate and reliable identification tool, and is widely used in identification of both culture-dependent and culture-independent microorganisms from fermented foods (Giraffa and Carminati, 2008; Dolci et al., 2015). Species-specific PCR primers are used for species level identification (Tamang et al., 2005); this technique is widely applied in the identification of LAB isolated from fermented foods (Robert et al., 2009). The application of real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) with specific primers enables the specific detection and quantification of LAB species in fermented foods (Park et al., 2009).
Random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) is a typing method based on the genomic DNA fragment profiles amplified by PCR, and is commonly used for disintegration of LAB strains from fermented foods (Coppola et al., 2006; Chao et al., 2008). The repetitive extragenic palindromic sequence-based PCR (rep-PCR) technique permits typing at subspecies level and reveals significant genotypic differences among strains of the same bacterial species from fermented food samples (Tamang et al., 2008). Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) is a technique based on the selective amplification and separation of genomic restriction fragments, and its applicability in identification and to discriminate has been demonstrated for various LAB strains (Tanigawa and Watanabe, 2011).
Techniques of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TGGE) have been developed to profile microbial communities directly from fermented foods, and are based on sequence-specific distinctions of 16S rDNA and 26S rDNA amplicons produced by PCR (Ercolini, 2004; Flórez and Mayo, 2006; Alegría et al., 2011). However, DGGE has some disadvantages as well like it is time consuming, unable to determine the relative abundance of dominant species and distinguish between viable and nonviable cells, as well as it has difficulties in interpretation of multi-bands (Dolci et al., 2015). DGGE is also limited to detect specific species as it may only reveal some of the major bacterial species such as B. licheniformis and Bacillus thermoamylovorans in chungkokjang (sticky fermented soybean food of Korea) and not detect a large number of predominant or diverse rare bacterial species identified in pyrosequencing analysis (Nam et al., 2011).
The amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA) technique using restriction enzymes is also useful in identification of microorganisms from fermented foods (Jeyaram et al., 2010).
Multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA), using housekeeping genes as molecular markers alternative to the 16S rRNA genes, is used for LAB species identification: rpoA and pheS genes for Enterococcus and Lactobacillus, atpA and pepN for Lactococcus species, and dnaA, gyrB, and rpoC for species of Leuconostoc, Oenococcus, and Weissella (de Bruyne et al., 2007, 2008b, 2010; Diancourt et al., 2007; Picozzi et al., 2010; Tanigawa and Watanabe, 2011).
Effective tools of next generation sequencing (NGS) such as metagenomics, phylobiomics, and metatranscriptomics are nowadays applied for documentation of cultures in traditionally fermented products (Mozzi et al., 2013; van Hijum et al., 2013). However, NGS as a sophisticated tool needs well-trained hands and a well-equipped molecular laboratory, which may not always be available. Application of metagenomic approaches, by using parallel pyrosequencing of tagged 16S rRNA gene amplicons, provide information on microbial communities as profiled in kimchi, a naturally fermented vegetable product of Korea (Jung et al., 2011; Park et al., 2012), nukadoko, a fermented rice bran of Japan (Sakamoto et al., 2011), narezushi, a fermented salted fish and cooked rice of Japan (Kiyohara et al., 2012), and ben-saalga, a traditional gruel of pearl millet of Burkina Faso (Humblot and Guyot, 2009). Pyrosequencing has revealed the presence of numerous and even minor bacterial groups in fermented foods, but DNA-level detection does not distinguish between metabolically “active” and “passive” organisms. “Functionally relevant phylotypes” in an ecosystem may be specifically detected by, e.g., weighted UniFrac principal coordinate analysis based on 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes, as applied in studies on gut microbiota (Wang et al., 2015). The 16S rRNA gene sequence based pyrosequencing method enables a comprehensive and high-throughput analysis of microbial ecology (Sakamoto et al., 2011), and this method has been applied to various traditionally fermented foods (Oki et al., 2014).
A proteomics identification method based on protein profiling using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionizing-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has been used to identify species of Bacillus in fermented foods of Africa (Savadogo et al., 2011), and species of LAB isolated from global fermented foods (Tanigawa et al., 2010; Dušková et al., 2012; Sato et al., 2012; Nguyen et al., 2013a; Kuda et al., 2014).
Global Fermented Foods
Campbell-Platt (1987) reported around 3500 global fermented foods and beverages, and had divided them into about 250 groups. There might be more than 5000 varieties of common and uncommon fermented foods and alcoholic beverages being consumed in the world today by billions of people, as staple and other food components (Tamang, 2010b). Global fermented foods are classified into nine major groups on the basis of substrates (raw materials) used from plant/animal sources: (1) fermented cereals, (2) fermented vegetables and bamboo shoots, (3) fermented legumes, (4) fermented roots/tubers, (5) fermented milk products, (6) fermented and preserved meat products, (7) fermented, dried and smoked fish products, (8) miscellaneous fermented products, and (9) alcoholic beverages (Steinkraus, 1997; Tamang, 2010b,c).
Fermented Milk Products
Fermented milk products (Table 1) are classified into two major groups on the basis of microorganisms: (A) lactic fermentation, dominated by species of LAB, comprising the “thermophilic” type (e.g., yogurt, Bulgarian buttermilk), probiotic type (e.g., acidophilus milk, bifidus milk), and the mesophilic type (e.g., natural fermented milk, cultured milk, cultured cream, cultured buttermilk); and (B) fungal-lactic fermentations, where LAB and yeasts cooperate to generate the final product, which include alcoholic milks (e.g., acidophilus-yeast milk, kefir, koumiss), and moldy milks (e.g., viili; Mayo et al., 2010). Natural fermentation is one of the oldest methods of milk processing using raw and boiled milk to ferment spontaneously, or of using the back-slopping method where a part of the previous batch of a fermented product is used to inoculate the new batch (Holzapfel, 2002; Josephsen and Jespersen, 2004). Cheese and cheese products derived from the fermentation of milk are of major nutritional and commercial importance throughout the world (de Ramesh et al., 2006). Starter cultures in milk fermentation are of two types: primary cultures that are mostly Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, Lc. lactis subsp. lactis, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii, Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis, Lb. helveticus, Leuconostoc spp., and Streptococcus thermophilus to participate in the acidification (Parente and Cogan, 2004); and secondary cultures that are used in cheese-making are Brevibacterium linens, Propionibacterium freudenreichii, Debaryomyces hansenii, Geotrichum candidum, Penicillium camemberti, and P. roqueforti for development of flavor and texture during ripening of cheese (Coppola et al., 2006; Quigley et al., 2011). Some non-starter lactic acid bacteria (NSLAB) microbiota are usually present in high numbers in fermented milk, which include Enterococcus durans, Ent. faecium, Lb. casei, Lb. plantarum, Lb. salivarius, and Staphylococcus spp. (Briggiler-Marcó et al., 2007).
Table 1. Microorganisms isolated from some common and uncommon fermented milk products of the world.
Fermented Cereal Foods
In most of the Asian countries, rice is fermented either by using mixed-culture(s) into alcoholic beverages or by using food beverages (Tamang, 2010c), whereas in Europe, America, and Australia, most cereals like wheat, rye, barley and maize are fermented by natural fermentation or by adding commercial baker's yeast into the batter for dough breads/loaves (Guyot, 2010). In Africa, fermented cereal foods are traditionally used as staples as well as complementary and weaning foods for infants and young children (Tou et al., 2007). In Europe, people still practice the old traditional method of preparation of breads or loaves without using any commercial strains of baker's yeast (Hammes and Ganzle, 1998). Yeasts and LAB conduct dough fermentation, mostly San Francisco sourdough, and the resultant products are generally called sourdough breads because they have higher contents of lactic acid and acetic acid due to the bacterial growth (Brandt, 2007; de Vuyst et al., 2009).
Cereal fermentation is mainly represented by species of LAB and yeasts (Corsetti and Settanni, 2007). Enterococcus, Lactococcus, Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc, Pediococcus, Streptococcus, and Weissella are common bacteria associated with cereal fermentations (Table 2; de Vuyst et al., 2009; Guyot, 2010; Moroni et al., 2011). Native strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae are the principal yeast of most bread fermentations (Hammes et al., 2005), but other non-Saccharomyces yeasts are also significant in many cereal fermentations including Candida, Debaryomyces, Hansenula, Kazachstania, Pichia, Trichosporon, and Yarrowia (Iacumin et al., 2009; Weckx et al., 2010; Johnson and Echavarri-Erasun, 2011).
Fermented Vegetable Foods
Perishable and seasonal leafy vegetables, radish, cucumbers including young edible bamboo tender shoots are traditionally fermented into edible products (Table 3). Fermentation of vegetables is mostly dominated by species of Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, followed by Leuconostoc, Weissella, Tetragenococcus, and Lactococcus (Chang et al., 2008; Watanabe et al., 2009a). A complete microbial profile of LAB in kimchi has been characterized using different molecular identification tools (Shin et al., 2008; Nam et al., 2009; Park et al., 2010; Jung et al., 2011, 2013a). Natural fermentations during production of sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage product of Germany, had been studied and a species of LAB were reported. (Johanningsmeier et al., 2007; Plengvidhya et al., 2007). Species of LAB constitute the native population in the Himalayan fermented vegetable products such as gundruk, sinki, goyang, khalpi, and inziangsang (Karki et al., 1983; Tamang et al., 2005, 2009; Tamang and Tamang, 2007, 2010) and in several naturally fermented bamboo products of India and Nepal (Tamang and Sarkar, 1996; Tamang et al., 2008; Tamang and Tamang, 2009; Jeyaram et al., 2010; Sonar and Halami, 2014).
Table 3. Microorganisms isolated from some common and uncommon fermented vegetable products of the world.
Fermented Soybeans and Other Legumes
Two types of fermented soybean foods are produced: soybean foods fermented by Bacillus spp. (mostly B. subtilis) with the stickiness characteristic, and soybean foods fermented by filamentous molds, mostly Aspergillus, Mucor, Rhizopus (Tamang, 2010b). Bacillus-fermented, non-salty and sticky soybean foods are concentrated in an imaginary triangle with three vertices lying each on Japan (natto), east Nepal and north-east India (kinema and its similar products), and northern Thailand (thua-nao), named as “natto triangle” (Nakao, 1972) and renamed as “kinema-natto-thuanao (KNT)-triangle” (Tamang, 2015b). Within the KNT-triangle-bound countries, Bacillus-fermented sticky non-salty soybean foods are consumed such as natto of Japan, chungkokjang of Korea, kinema of India, Nepal and Bhutan, aakhune, bekang, hawaijar, peruyaan, and tungrymbai of India, thua nao of Thailand, pepok of Myanmar, and sieng of Cambodia and Laos (Nagai and Tamang, 2010; Tamang, 2015b; Table 4). Although, the method of production and culinary practices vary from product to product, plasmids, and phylogenetic analysis of B. subtilis showed the similarity among the strains of B. subtilis isolated from common sticky fermented soybean foods of Asia (Hara et al., 1986, 1995; Tamang et al., 2002; Meerak et al., 2007) suggesting the common stock of Bacillus. Mould-fermented soybean products are miso and shoyu of Japan, tempe of Indonesia, douchi and sufu of China, and doenjang of Korea (Sugawara, 2010). Some common non-soybean fermented legumes (e.g., locust beans) are bikalga, dawadawa, iru, okpehe, soumbala, and dugba of Africa (Ouoba et al., 2004, 2008, 2010; Amoa-Awua et al., 2006; Azokpota et al., 2006; Oguntoyinbo et al., 2007, 2010; Meerak et al., 2008; Parkouda et al., 2009; Ahaotu et al., 2013), fermented black-grams products such as dhokla, papad, and wari of India (Nagai and Tamang, 2010), and maseura of India and Nepal (Chettri and Tamang, 2008).
Table 4. Microorganisms isolated from some common and uncommon fermented legume (soybeans and non-soybean) products of the world.
Species of Bacillus have been reported for several Asian fermented soybean foods (Sarkar et al., 2002; Tamang et al., 2002; Tamang, 2003; Park et al., 2005; Inatsu et al., 2006; Choi et al., 2007; Kimura and Itoh, 2007; Shon et al., 2007; Jeyaram et al., 2008b; Dajanta et al., 2009; Kwon et al., 2009; Kubo et al., 2011; Singh et al., 2014; Wongputtisin et al., 2014; Chettri and Tamang, 2015). However, B. subtilis is the dominant functional bacterium in Asian fermented soybean foods (Sarkar and Tamang, 1994; Tamang and Nikkuni, 1996; Dajanta et al., 2011). Japanese natto is the only Bacillus-fermented soybean food now produced by commercial monoculture starter B. natto, earlier isolated from naturally fermented natto by Sawamura (Sawamura, 1906). Ent. Faecium, as a minor population group, is also present in kinema (Sarkar et al., 1994), in okpehe (Oguntoyinbo et al., 2007), and in chungkukjang (Yoon et al., 2008).
Fermented Root and Tuber Products
Cassava (Manihot esculenta) root is traditionally fermented into staple foods such as gari in Nigeria; fufu in Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria; agbelima in Ghana; chikawgue in Zaire; kivunde in Tanzania; kocho in Ethiopia; and foo foo in Nigeria, Benin, Togo, and Ghana, respectively (Franz et al., 2014; Table 5). The initial stage of cassava fermentation is dominated by Corynebacterium manihot (Oyewole et al., 2004) with LAB succession (Lb. acidophilus, Lb. casei, Lb. fermentum, Lb. pentosus, Lb. plantarum, Oguntoyinbo and Dodd, 2010). Cassava root is also traditionally fermented into sweet dessert known as tapé in Indonesia (Tamang, 2010b).
Fermented Meat Products
Fermented meat products are divided into two categories: those made from whole meat pieces or slices such as dried meat and jerky; and those made by chopping or comminuting the meat, usually called sausages (Adams, 2010). Traditionally fermented meat products of many countries have been well-documented (Table 6), such as fermented sausages (Lücke, 2015) and salami (Toldra, 2007) of Europe, jerky of America and Africa (Baruzzi et al., 2006), nham of Thailand (Chokesajjawatee et al., 2009), and nem chua of Vietnam (Nguyen et al., 2013b). The main microbial groups involved in meat fermentation are LAB (Albano et al., 2009; Cocolin et al., 2011; Khanh et al., 2011; Nguyen et al., 2013b), followed by coagulase-negative staphylococci, micrococci and Enterobacteriaceae (Cocolin et al., 2011; Marty et al., 2011), and depending on the product, some species of yeasts (Encinas et al., 2000; Tamang and Fleet, 2009), and molds, which may play a role in meat ripening (Lücke, 2015).
Table 6. Microorganisms isolated from some common and uncommon fermented meat products of the world.
Fermented Fish Products
Preservation of fish through fermentation, sun/smoke drying and salting (Table 7) is traditionally practiced by people living nearby coastal regions, lakes, and rivers and is consumed as seasoning, condiments, and side dishes (Salampessy et al., 2010). Several species of bacteria and yeasts have been reported from fermented and traditionally preserved fish products of the world (Kobayashi et al., 2000a,b,c; Wu et al., 2000; Thapa et al., 2004, 2006, 2007; Saithong et al., 2010; Hwanhlem et al., 2011; Romi et al., 2015).
Table 7. Microorganisms isolated from some common and uncommon fermented fish products of the world.
Miscellaneous Fermented Products
Vinegar is one of the most popular condiments in the world and is prepared from sugar or ethanol containing substrates and hydrolyzed starchy materials by aerobic conversion to acetic acid (Solieri and Giudici, 2008). Acetobacter aceti subsp. aceti, Acetobacter pasteurianus, Acetobacter polyxygenes, Acetobacter xylinum, Acetobacter malorum, Acetobacter pomorum dominate during vinegar production (Haruta et al., 2006), while yeast species such as Candida lactis-condensi, Candida stellata, Hanseniaspora valbyensis, Hanseniaspora osmophila, Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Sacch. cerevisiae, Zygosaccharomyces bailii, Zygosaccharomyces bisporus, Zygosaccharomyces lentus, Zygosaccharomyces mellis, Zygosaccharomyces Pseudorouxii, and Zygosaccharomyces Rouxii have also been reported (Sengun and Karabiyikli, 2011).
Though normal black tea is consumed everywhere, some ethnic Asian communities enjoy special fermented teas such as miang of Thailand (Tanasupawat et al., 2007) and puer tea, fuzhuan brick, and kombucha of China (Mo et al., 2008). Aspergillus niger is the predominant fungus in puer tea while Blastobotrys adeninivorans, Asp. glaucus, species of Penicillium, Rhizopus, and Saccharomyces and the bacterial species Actinoplanes and Streptomyces are isolated (Jeng et al., 2007; Abe et al., 2008). Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Candida stellata, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, Saccharomyces spp., Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Torulaspora delbrueckii, Zygosaccharomyces bailii, Zygosaccharomyces bisporus, Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis, and Zygosaccharomyces microellipsoides are also isolated from kombucha (Kurtzman et al., 2001; Teoh et al., 2004). Major bacterial genera present in kombucha are Gluconacetobacter. However, Marsh et al. (2014) reported the predominance of Lactobacillus, Acetobacter, and Zygosaccharomyces. Lb. thailandensis, Lb. camelliae, Lb. plantarum, Lb. pentosus, Lb. vaccinostercus, Lb. pantheris, Lb. fermentum, Lb. suebicus, Ped. siamensis, Ent. casseliflavus and Ent. camelliae in the fermentation of miang production (Sukontasing et al., 2007; Tanasupawat et al., 2007). Species of Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Eurotium are major fungi for fermentation of fuzhuan brick tea (Mo et al., 2008).
Nata or bacterial cellulose produced by Acetobacter xylinum is a delicacy of the Philippines, eaten as candy (Chinte-Sanchez, 2008; Jagannath et al., 2010; Adams, 2014). Two types of nata are well-known: nata de piña, produced on the juice from pineapple trimmings, and nata de coco, produced on coconut water or coconut skim milk (Adams, 2014). Bacterial cellulose has significant potential as a food ingredient in view of its high purity, in situ change of flavor and color, and having the ability to form various shapes and textures (Shi et al., 2014).
Chocolate is a product of cocoa bean fermentation where Lb. fermentum and Acetobacter pasteurianus are reported as the predominating bacterial species (Lefeber et al., 2010; Papalexandratou et al., 2011). Diverse LAB species appear to be typically associated with the fermentation of cocoa beans in Ghana, which include Lb. ghanensis (Nielsen et al., 2007), Weissella ghanensis (de Bruyne et al., 2008a), Lb. cacaonum, and Lb. fabifermentans (de Bruyne et al., 2009), and Weissella fabaria (de Bruyne et al., 2010). Fructobacillus pseudoficulneus, Lb. plantarum, Acetobacter senegalensis, and the enterobacteria Tatumella ptyseos and Tatumella citrea are among the prevailing species during the initial phase of cocoa fermentations (Papalexandratou et al., 2011). Yeasts involved during spontaneous cocoa fermentation are Hanseniaspora uvarum, Hanseniaspora quilliermundii, Issatchenkia orientalis (Candida krusei), Pichia membranifaciens, Sacch. Cerevisiae, and Kluyveromyces species for flavor development (Schillinger et al., 2010).
Pidan is a preserved egg prepared from alkali-treated fresh duck eggs and is consumed by the Chinese, and has a strong hydrogen sulfide and ammonia smell (Ganasen and Benjakul, 2010). The main alkaline chemical reagent used for making pidan is sodium hydroxide, which is produced by the reaction of sodium carbonate, water, and calcium oxide of pickle or coating mud. B. cereus, B. macerans, Staph. cohnii, Staph. epidermidis, Staph. Haemolyticus, and Staph. warneri are predominant in pidan (Wang and Fung, 1996).
Traditional way of culturing the essential microorganisms (consortia of filamentous molds, amylolytic, and alcohol-producing yeasts and LAB) with rice or wheat as the base in the form of dry, flattened or round balls, for production of alcoholic beverages is a remarkable discovery in the food history of Asian people, which is exclusively practiced in South-East Asia including the Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, Bhutan, and China (Tibet; Hesseltine, 1983; Tamang, 2010a). Around 1–2% of previously prepared amylolytic starters are inoculated into the dough, and mixed cultures are allowed to develop for a short time, then dried, and used to make either alcohol or fermented foods from starchy materials (Tamang et al., 1996). Asian amylolytic starters have different vernacular names such as marcha in India and Nepal; hamei, humao, phab in India; mana and manapu of Nepal; men in Vietnam; ragi in Indonesia; bubod in Philippines; chiu/chu in China and Taiwan; loogpang in Thailand; mae/dombae/buh/puh in Cambodia; and nuruk in Korea (Hesseltine and Kurtzman, 1990; Nikkuni et al., 1996; Sujaya et al., 2004; Thanh et al., 2008; Yamamoto and Matsumoto, 2011; Tamang et al., 2012).
Microbial profiles of amylolytic starters of India, Nepal, and Bhutan are filamentous molds like, Mucor circinelloides forma circinelloides, Mucor hiemalis, Rhi. chinensis, and Rhi. stolonifer variety lyococcus (Tamang et al., 1988); yeasts like Sacch. cerevisiae, Sacch. bayanus, Saccharomycopsis (Sm.) fibuligera, Sm. capsularis, Pichia anomala, Pic. burtonii, and Candida glabrata; (Tamang and Sarkar, 1995; Shrestha et al., 2002; Tsuyoshi et al., 2005; Tamang et al., 2007; Jeyaram et al., 2008a, 2011; Chakrabarty et al., 2014); and species of LAB namely Ped. pentosaceus, Lb. bifermentans, and Lb. brevis (Hesseltine and Ray, 1988; Tamang and Sarkar, 1995; Tamang et al., 2007; Chakrabarty et al., 2014). A diversity of yeasts (Candida tropicalis, Clavispora lusitaniae, Pichia anomala, Pichia ranongensis, Saccharomycopsis fibuligera, Sacch. cerevisiae, Issatchenkia sp.); filamentous molds (Absidia corymbifera, Amylomyces rouxii, Botryobasidium subcoronatum, Rhizopus oryzae, Rhi. microsporus, Xeromyces bisporus); LAB (Ped. pentosaceus, Lb. plantarum, Lb. brevis, Weissella confusa, Weissella paramesenteroides); amylase-producing bacilli (Bacillus subtilis, B. circulans, B. amyloliquefaciens, B. sporothermodurans); and acetic acid bacteria (Acetobacter orientalis, A. pasteurianus) is present in men, a starter culture of Vietnam (Dung et al., 2006, 2007; Thanh et al., 2008).
A combination of Asp. oryzae and Asp. sojae is used in koji in Japan to produce alcoholic beverages including saké (Zhu and Trampe, 2013). Koji (Chinese chu, shi, or qu) also produces amylases that convert starch to fermentable sugars, which are then used for the second stage yeast fermentation to make non-alcoholic fermented soybean miso and shoyu (Sugawara, 2010). Asp. awamori, Asp. kawachii, Asp. oryzae, Asp. shirousamii, and Asp. sojae have been widely used as the starter in preparation of koji for production of miso, saké, shoyu, shochu (Suganuma et al., 2007).
Tamang (2010c) classified alcoholic beverages of the world into 10 types:
(1) Non-distilled and unfiltered alcoholic beverages produced by amylolytic starters e.g., kodo ko jaanr (fermented finger millets; Thapa and Tamang, 2004) and bhaati jaanr (fermented rice) of India and Nepal (Tamang and Thapa, 2006), makgeolli (fermented rice) of Korea (Jung et al., 2012).
(2) Non-distilled and filtered alcoholic beverages produced by amylolytic starters e.g., saké of Japan (Kotaka et al., 2008).
(3) Distilled alcoholic beverages produced by amylolytic starter e.g., shochu of Japan, and soju of Korea (Steinkraus, 1996).
(4) Alcoholic beverages produced by involvement of amylase in human saliva e.g., chicha of Peru (Vallejo et al., 2013).
(5) Alcoholic beverages produced by mono- (single-strain) fermentation e.g., beer (Kurtzman and Robnett, 2003).
(6) Alcoholic beverages produced from honey e.g., tej of Ethiopia (Bahiru et al., 2006).
(7) Alcoholic beverages produced from plant parts e.g., pulque of Mexico (Lappe-Oliveras et al., 2008), toddy of India (Shamala and Sreekantiah, 1988), and kanji of India (Kingston et al., 2010).
(8) Alcoholic beverages produced by malting (germination) e.g., sorghum (“Bantu”) beer of South Africa (Kutyauripo et al., 2009), pito of Nigeria, and Ghana (Kolawole et al., 2013), and tchoukoutou of Benin (Greppi et al., 2013a).
(9) Alcoholic beverages prepared from fruits without distillation e.g., wine, cider.
(10) Distilled alcoholic beverages prepared from fruits and cereals e.g., whisky and brandy.
Non-Distilled Mild-Alcoholic Food Beverages Produced by Amylolytic Starters
The biological process of liquefaction and saccharification of cereal starch by filamentous molds and yeasts, supplemented by amylolytic starters, under solid-state fermentation is one of the two major stages of production of alcoholic beverages in Asia (Tamang, 2010c). These alcoholic beverages are mostly considered as food beverage and eaten as staple food with high calorie in many parts of Asia, e.g., kodo ko jaanr of the Himalayan regions in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and China (Tibet) with 5% alcohol content (Thapa and Tamang, 2004). Saccharifying activities are mostly shown by Rhizopus spp. and Sm. fibuligera whereas, liquefying activities are shown by Sm. fibuligera and Sacch. cerevisiae (Thapa and Tamang, 2006). Rhizopus, Amylomyces, Torulopsis, and Hansenula are present in lao-chao, a popular ethnic fermented rice beverage of China (Wei and Jong, 1983). During fermentation of Korean makgeolli (prepared from rice by amylolytic starter nuruk), the proportion of the Saccharomycetaceae family increases significantly and the major bacterial phylum of the samples shifts from γ-Proteobacteria to Firmicutes (Jung et al., 2012).
Non-Distilled and Filtered Alcoholic Beverages Produced by Amylolytic Starters
Alcoholic beverages produced by amylolytic starter (koji) are not distilled but the extract of fermented cereals is filtered into clarified high alcohol-content liquor, like in sake, which is a national drink of Japan containing 15–20% alcohol (Tamang, 2010c). Improved strains of Asp. oryzae are used for saké production in industrial scale (Kotaka et al., 2008; Hirasawa et al., 2009).
Distilled Alcoholic Beverages Produced by Amylolytic Starters
This category of alcoholic drinks is the clear distillate of high alcohol content prepared as drink from fermented cereal beverages by using amylolytic starters. Raksi is an ethnic alcoholic (22–27% v/v) drink of the Himalayas with aromatic characteristic, and distilled from the traditionally fermented cereal beverages (Kozaki et al., 2000).
Alcoholic Beverages Produced by Human Saliva
Chicha is a unique ethnic fermented alcoholic (2–12% v/v) beverage of Andes Indian race of South America mostly in Peru, prepared from maize by human salivation process (Hayashida, 2008). Sacch. cerevisiae, Sacch. apiculata, Sacch. pastorianus, species of Lactobacillus and Acetobacter are present in chicha (Escobar et al., 1996). Sacch. cerevisiae was isolated from chicha and identified using MALDI-TOF (Vallejo et al., 2013). Species of Lactobacillus, Bacillus, Leuconostoc, Enterococcus, Streptomyces, Enterobacter, Acinetobacter, Escherichia, Cronobacter, Klebsiella, Bifidobacterium, and Propioniobacterium have been reported from chicha of Brazil (Puerari et al., 2015).
Alcoholic Beverages Produced from Honey
Some alcoholic beverages are produced from honey e.g., tej of Ethiopia. It is a yellow, sweet, effervescent and cloudy alcoholic (7–14% v/v) beverage (Steinkraus, 1996). Sacch. cerevisiae, Kluyvermyces bulgaricus, Debaromyces phaffi, and Kl. veronae, and LAB species of Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Leuconostoc, and Pediococcus are responsible for tej fermentation (Bahiru et al., 2006).
Alcoholic Beverages Produced from Plant Parts
Pulque is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages prepared from juices of the cactus (Agave) plant of Mexico (Steinkraus, 2002). Bacteria present during the fermentation of pulque were LAB (Lc. lactis subsp. lactis, Lb. acetotolerans, Lb. acidophilus, Lb. hilgardii, Lb. kefir, Lb. plantarum, Leuc. citreum, Leuc. kimchi, Leuc. mesenteroides, Leuc. pseudomesenteroides), the γ-Proteobacteria (Erwinia rhapontici, Enterobacter spp., and Acinetobacter radioresistens, several α-Proteobacteria), Zymomonas mobilis, Acetobacter malorum, A. pomorium, Microbacterium arborescens, Flavobacterium johnsoniae, Gluconobacter oxydans, and Hafnia alvei (Escalante et al., 2004, 2008). Yeasts isolated from pulque are Saccharomyces (Sacch. bayanus, Sacch. cerevisiae, Sacch. paradoxus) and non-Saccharomyces (Candida spp., C. parapsilosis, Clavispora lusitaniae, Hanseniaspora uvarum, Kl. lactis, Kl. marxianus, Pichia membranifaciens, Pichia spp., Torulaspora delbrueckii; Lappe-Oliveras et al., 2008).
Depending on the region, traditional alcoholic drinks prepared from palm juice called “palm wine” are known by various names, e.g., toddy or tari in India, mu, bandji, ogogoro, nsafufuo, nsamba, mnazi, yongo, taberna, tua, or tubak in West Africa and South America (Ouoba et al., 2012). Microorganisms that are responsible for toddy fermentation are Sacch. cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Acetobacter aceti, A. rancens, A. suboxydans, Leuc. dextranicum (mesenteroides), Micrococcus sp., Pediococcus sp., Bacillus sp., and Sarcina sp. (Shamala and Sreekantiah, 1988).
Kanji is an ethnic Indian strong-flavored mild alcoholic beverage prepared from beet-root and carrot by natural fermentation (Batra and Millner, 1974). Hansenlu anomala, Candida guilliermondii, C. tropicalis, Geotrichium candidum, Leuc. mesenteroides, Pediococcus sp., Lb. paraplantarum, and Lb. pentosus are present in kanji (Batra and Millner, 1976; Kingston et al., 2010).
Alcoholic Beverages Produced by Malting or Germination
Bantu beer or sorghum beer of Bantu tribes of South Africa is an alcoholic beverage produced by malting or germination process (Taylor, 2003). Malted beer is common in Africa with different names e.g., as bushera or muramba in Uganda, chibuku in Zimbabwe, dolo, burkutu, and pito in West Africa and ikigage in Rwanda (Myuanja et al., 2003; Sawadogo-Lingani et al., 2007; Lyumugabe et al., 2012). Sorghum (Sorghum caffrorum or S. vulgare) is malted (Kutyauripo et al., 2009), characterized by a two-stage (lactic followed by alcoholic) fermentation, with Lb. fermentum as the dominating LAB species (Sawadogo-Lingani et al., 2007).
Alcoholic Beverages Produced from Fruits without Distillation
The most common example of alcoholic beverages produced from fruits without distillation is wine, which is initiated by the growth of various species of Saccharomyces and non-Saccharomyces (so-called “wild”) yeasts (e.g., Candida colliculosa, C. stellata, Hanseniaspora uvarum, Kloeckera apiculata, Kl. thermotolerans, Torulaspora delbrueckii, Metschnikowia pulcherrima; Pretorius, 2000; Moreira et al., 2005; Sun et al., 2014; Walker, 2014). Candida sp. and Cladosporium sp. were isolated from fermenting white wine using mCOLD-PCR-DGGE, but had not been detected by conventional PCR (Takahashi et al., 2014). Sacch. cerevisiae strains developed during wine fermentations play an active role in developing the characteristics of a wine (Capece et al., 2013). Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD; www.yeastgenome.org) provides free of charge access or links to comprehensive datasets comprising genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic information (Pretorius et al., 2015).
Every community in the world has distinct food culture including fermented foods and alcoholic beverages, symbolizing the heritage and socio-cultural aspects of the ethnicity. The word “culture” denotes food habits of ethnicity; another meaning for the same word “culture” is a cluster of microbial cells or inoculum, an essential biota for fermentation, often used in the microbiology. The diversity of functional microorganisms ranges from filamentous molds to enzyme-producing and alcohol-producing yeasts, and from Gram-positive to a few Gram-negative bacteria, while even Archaea has been ascribed roles in some fermented foods and alcoholic beverages. However, consumption of lesser known and uncommon ethnic fermented foods is declining due to the change in lifestyles that is shifting from cultural food habits to commercial foodstuffs and fast foods, drastically affecting traditional culinary practices, and also due to the climate change in some environments such as the Sahel region in Africa and the vast areas adjacent to the Gobi desert in Asia.
JT: contributed 50% of review works. WH, contributed 25% of review. KW contributed 25% of review.
Conflict of Interest Statement
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
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Keywords: global fermented foods, LAB, Bacillus, yeasts, filamentous molds
Citation: Tamang JP, Watanabe K and Holzapfel WH (2016) Review: Diversity of Microorganisms in Global Fermented Foods and Beverages. Front. Microbiol. 7:377. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00377
Received: 14 December 2015; Accepted: 08 March 2016;
Published: 24 March 2016.
Edited by:Abd El-Latif Hesham, Assiut University, Egypt
Reviewed by:Catarina Prista, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Portugal
Chiara Montanari, Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca Industriale Agroalimentare, Italy
Copyright © 2016 Tamang, Watanabe and Holzapfel. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
*Correspondence: Jyoti P. Tamang, email@example.com