About this Research Topic
Since the 19th century, advances in our understanding of the microbes involved in fermentation have had a profound impact on how we have produced fermented foods. In particular, the widespread use of pure cultures has facilitated the development of consistent production processes and products. There is however now a renewed interest in traditional fermentation processes that cannot be carried out with single fermentative organisms. Complex microbial communities are involved in the production of various fermented foods and beverages. These include many products that are increasing in popularity due to their complex flavour profiles, health-promoting effects, and other techno-functional properties. Such products include kombucha, kefir, sourdough and other traditional foods where fermentation is initiated spontaneously or through the use of complex starter cultures.
A common feature of these fermentation processes is that community interactions are essential. Relationships between species may be neutral, synergistic or antagonistic. The aim of this research topic is to highlight current findings on interspecies relationships in food and beverage fermentation systems, particularly those relationships that contribute directly to the character of the resultant product. Interactions may be studied at a molecular, biochemical, microbiological, ecological, technological level, or a combination thereof.
It is expected that an improved understanding of microbial sociology of fermented foods will help improve efficiency of production processes, improve product quality, and allow the creation of rationalized starter cultures for more consistent fermentations at industrial level. Exploitation of species-species interactions may be used to tailor the functional properties of products, or even create novel foods or beverages.
This Research Topic focuses on studies (original research, perspectives, mini reviews, commentaries and opinion papers) that relate to:
• Microbial ecology of food fermentation systems
• Modelling of interactions in complex fermentation systems
• Identification of technologically important species and species-species interactions
• Elaboration of synergistic and antagonistic relationships between microbes during fermentation
• Impact of process conditions and substrates on species’ relationships
• Mechanisms involved in production of pellicles, biofilms and other physical structures
• Co-evolution of species in food matrices
• Bioflavouring with microbial communities
• Potential health benefits arising from complex fermentations
• Design of starter cultures for specific product characteristics
Keywords: Food, fermentation, microbial communities, microbial interactions
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