Lactic Acid Fermentation, Know the Process and the Food Produced

Lactic acid fermentation is a method for preserving food. Yogurt, pickles, and kimchi are examples of foods made through this fermentation method. To find out more about the process and types of lactic fermented foods, see the explanation below.

The lactic acid fermentation process uses lactic acid-producing bacteria, such as bacteria Lactobacillus, L. plantarum, L. casei, L. paracasei, and L. rhamnosus, as well as some types of yeast.

Lactic acid fermentation that utilizes these good microorganisms is usually carried out to process several types of food, ranging from milk, grains, to fruits and vegetables.

Lactic Acid Fermentation Process and Uses

The simplest way to perform lactic acid fermentation is to wash foods that contain naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria, such as cabbage or cucumbers, and then soak them in salt water. After that, the food is stored in a clean container that is tightly closed.

Lactic acid bacteria will then break down the sugars in the food into lactic acid and carbon dioxide. These substances reduce oxygen in the container and make food acidic, thereby supporting the growth of lactic acid-producing bacteria while preventing the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi that cause disease.

After that, fermented food is usually stored in a cool place to slow down further fermentation and prevent spoilage. The time required for lactic acid fermentation ranges from a few days to several months, or even years.

There are several reasons why lactic acid fermentation was chosen as a method for preserving food, including:

  • Lower costs than freezing or canning food
  • Enriches the taste, texture and aroma of food
  • Prevents the growth of harmful microorganisms and food spoilage
  • Makes food last longer and last longer
  • Makes food easier to digest

In addition, several studies also state that lactic acid fermented foods are also good for health. Fermented foods are believed to maintain heart and brain health, reduce the risk of cancer, boost immunity, and reduce the risk of inflammation, diabetes, and obesity.

Lactic Acid Fermented Food

The following are some types of food produced from the lactic acid fermentation process:

1. Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional Korean food made from vegetables fermented by bacteria Lactobacillus kimchii. Vegetables that are commonly processed into kimchi are chicory, radish, and cucumber. However, there are hundreds of types of vegetables that can also be processed as kimchi.

This lactic acid fermented food is not only delicious and appetizing, but also good for health. Not only that, kimchi is known to launch and maintain a healthy digestive system, strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, slow down aging, and maintain heart and brain health.

2. Tempeh

Lactic acid fermentation also plays an important role in tempe production. Tempe is a food fermented from soybeans by bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum and mushrooms Rhizopus oligosporus.

Tempe contains protein and vitamin B12 obtained from the fermentation process. This Indonesian food is considered good for maintaining a healthy digestive system, maintaining heart health and function, strengthening bones, and lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

3. Miso

Miso is a Japanese condiment produced by fermenting mushrooms Aspergillus oryzae and Lactobacilliacidophilus on soybeans. Miso has a salty and savory taste.

Foods that are commonly consumed as soups also have health benefits, namely reducing the risk of cancer and stroke and can improve heart and brain health.

4. Yogurt

Yogurt is a probiotic food made from fermented milk with lactic acid bacteria. Yogurt has a sour taste. Although processed from milk, yogurt is still safe for consumption by people who have lactose intolerance.

This fermented milk food is thought to be able to cure diarrhea due to bacterial infection in the digestive tract, relieve symptoms irritable bowel syndrome, improve bone health and strength, and keep blood pressure stable.

5. Pickles

Pickles are generally made from fermented cucumbers in a mixture of water and salt for some time and have a sour taste. The sour taste of pickles is caused by naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria.

Besides being rich in probiotic bacteria, pickles are a great source of vitamin K and low in calories. However, pickles made using vinegar do not contain live probiotic bacteria.

6. Salted vegetables or sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is grated cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria and has a taste similar to salted vegetables, but more sour.

Sauerkraut contains fiber, probiotics, vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin K, sodium, iron, and manganese. On the other hand, sauerkraut It also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which is important for eye health.

In addition to the foods above, there are many other foods and drinks that are processed by lactic acid fermentation, including kefir, kombucha, and several types of cheese.

Foods and drinks made by lactic acid fermentation or other fermentations tend to be safe for consumption by everyone. However, people who have weak immune systems are advised to avoid or limit their consumption of fermented foods and beverages.

Although lactic acid fermented foods have many health benefits, you are advised to limit their consumption because they contain high amounts of salt and sugar. You are also advised to see a doctor if you experience bloating or diarrhea after consuming fermented foods or drinks.