Food Fermentation: The Scientific Magic Behind the Centuries Old Process

Cody Driscoll


In a time before refrigeration or preservatives were widely available, a more scientific approach to preserving foods were discovered in order to keep food fresh and unspoiled. This approach is known today as fermentation, and it is used in more products than just alcoholic beverages. For example: sauerkraut, yogurts, cheeses, sourdough, salami, sausage, kimchi, soy sauce, coffee, tea, chocolate and the list goes on and on of other products that utilize the phenomenon that is fermentation. Fermentation is the microbial process of breaking down simple sugars and converting them to either alcohol or organic acids by the use of microorganisms (yeast or bacteria) under anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions. 

Technology in the past, has mostly taken over in the United States and fermented foods have always taken a back seat, however, in recent years with the new belief that fermented foods carry with them a plethora of health benefits, a resurgence of the craft that is fermentation has begun. So, everyday more and more people are seeking out kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, or whatever else appeals to the consumer, because of the belief that these foods/beverages will contribute to a better overall gut health (by improving gut flora). Whereas, Eastern countries like China, Germany, India, and several other undeveloped countries have always advocated for fermented foods mostly out of necessity rather than novelty, due to their longer shelf life and increased duration of safety. We owe this prolonged safety to the microscopic bacteria known widely as anaerobic bacteria, and this is simply a blanket term to describe all bacteria that perform at their best without the presence of oxygen. 

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.