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Biotech Resources: Guide to Industrial Fermentation

Biotech Resources: Guide to Industrial Fermentation

Fermentation has been around since old age. Human beings used to ferment foods for various reasons. However, fermentation was small-scale based. But technologies have made fermentation more advanced. So, if you are planning to set up an industrial fermentation process company, keep reading. This guide will dive you into the basics, helping you learn the different types.  

What’s Fermentation?

Fermentation is defined as a metabolic process that involves micro activities that changes foods or beverages. Fermentation can change the flavor, preserve food, or offer the body health benefits.

How Does It work?

Fermentation is a chemical process that heavily relies on microorganisms. Here, microorganisms survive with the help of carbohydrates (i.e. sugars like glucose).

What to Start Industrial Fermentation? Follow These Quick Tips

Fermentation comes with a lot of health benefits. Plus, it helps produce a myriad of products to quench the ever-increasing demand for foods and drinks. So, if you are planning to start a fermentation plant, you need to get things right. So, whether you are planning to venture into food fermentation or wine brewing, here are tips to help you get into the right track.

Know the “Starter” Cultures

Cultures are key when it comes to any fermentation process. So, it’s important to pay close attention to the cultures you use. In particular, you should determine the cultures you want to start with. It’s important to note that the air you breathe contains natural microbes. Starter cultures like whey or SCOBY come with rich microorganisms. When added to foods or liquids, these microorganisms tend to multiply rapidly, which plays a key role in jumpstarting the processes of fermentation.

The Equipment Should Be Kept Clean

One of the most important aspects of fermentation is cleanliness. That’s why you are advised to keep the equipment clean. Cleaning equipment prevents bacteria from leaking into the ferment. The best way to clean fermentation process equipment is by using water and then sterilizing them before use.

Minimize Exposure

Don’t expose the ferment into the air—it will interfere with the fermentation process. In fact, it will lead to poor fermentation. Thus, be sure to seal all holes in your equipment. Even more, exposure to air can lead to food spoilage as well as poisoning. You can adopt several measures to prevent the ferment from coming into contact with air.  First, consider submerging the ferment in brine. This method is ideal when it comes to dealing with fermented solid pieces. Another way of preventing air into getting into the ferment is by controlling the fermentation’s PH level. Doing so will preventing oxygen from coming into contact with the ferment. The best way to do this is to add a vinegar solution to the ferment.

Storage

All fermentation products should be kept in sealable storage containers. This will prevent air contamination. For industrial purposes, purchase sealable containers from reputable manufacturers. There are many alternatives on the market. So, be sure to do your research. Consider asking an expert for guidance. Normally, a storage container should come with a valve that vents the carbon dioxide released by the fermentation process. It’s important to monitor the ferment on a regular basis. The best way to monitor it is by manually opening sealed containers. This process helps release the excess carbon dioxide formed.

Fermentation Management

Fermentation is a very delicate process. It requires proper management. For instance, the environmental temperature should be controlled if you want to achieve a particular outcome when it comes to fermentation. Normally, warm and room temperatures favor the development of microbes. However, the temperature you set is dependent on the microbes being used. In simple terms, the temperature can affect the production process. For instance, cooler temperatures tend to slow down the rate of fermentation.  On the other hand, high temperatures are capable of killing microbes. So, sticking to the ideal temperatures is of paramount importance.

Common Uses of Industrial Fermentation

Industrial fermentation has become an extremely important process in the modern world. Countries and experts are turning to fermentation to produce foods and beverages for commercial use. As a chemical process that breaks down carbohydrates anaerobically, fermentation comes with a myriad of health benefits. Common applications that rely on the process of industrial fermentation include bread, yogurt, and alcoholic beverages. Here are the common uses of industrial fermentation.

Types of Industrial Fermentation

Fermentation can be divided into many types based on the end products. However, the most common types include:

  1. Ethanol/alcoholic fermentation
  2. Lactic acid fermentation

While ethanol fermentation is ideal for alcohol-based beverage production, its lactic acid fermentation counterpart is common in a process that involves flavoring and preserving dairy products and veggies. However, this doesn’t mean that these are the only types of fermentation. Other common types of industrial fermentation processes include Acetic acid, Acetone-butanol-ethanol, as well as mixed acid fermentation. Here is a breakdown regarding these common types of fermentation processes.

Ethanol Fermentation

Ethanol fermentation, a biological process that involves turning sugar into ethanol, carbon, as well as energy, is used in the production of foods and beverages. The whole process starts with glycolysis which is involved in the conversion of glucose molecules to 2 pyruvate molecules. After this step, the pyruvate molecule is further broken down into carbon dioxide and acetaldehyde. Pyruvate decarboxylase catalases this process. From here, alcohol dehydrogenase makes the conversion of 2 acetaldehyde molecules into 2 ethanol molecules. The process uses energy and hydrogen.

Lactic Acid Fermentation

Another type of fermentation is lactic acid fermentation. This type of fermentation involves the transformation of sugar into metabolite lactate as well as energy. Considered to be a respiration process, lactic acid fermentation produces no gas and usually takes place in bacteria and or the cells of muscles.

In this fermentation process, 2 pyruvate molecules are converted from glycolysis to lactic acid. In the process, NAD+ is generated. Lactic acid dehydrogenase catalyzes this redox reaction process. It’s important to note that lactic acid bacteria can be used in homolactic fermentation. Here, lactic acid is the chief product. Alternatively, it can carry out heterotactic fermentation, a process that involves further lactate metabolism. It produces ethanol and carbon dioxide. However, the process produces other byproducts.

Importance of Industrial Fermentation

Fermented foods come with rich probiotics. These probiotics come with beneficial microorganisms that are responsible for maintaining the healthy functioning of the gut. This means that the gut system can absorb nutrients more efficiently. Here is how fermented foods can help the human body stay health:

  • Vitamin Intake—Fermented foods contain probiotics, enzymes, as well as lactic acid. These three components are helpful in facilitating the intake of vitamins as well as minerals by the body. Thus, taking fermented foods increases the levels of vitamins B, C, as well as folic acid. Even more, the levels of riboflavin, niacin, in addition to biotin are drastically increased after taking fermented foods.
  • Neutralizing phytic acid—taking fermented foods is one of the best ways of neutralizing the amount of phytic acid in the body. It’s important to note that phytic acid is commonly found in grains, nuts, and seeds. This substance tends to cause mineral deficiencies. After ionization, phytates are formed—which makes fats, proteins as well as starch less digestible.
  • A healthy gut—if you want to have a healthy gut, think fermented foods. With fermented products, you have foods rich in microorganisms and probiotics—which play a key role in maintaining a healthy gut. These substances produce antibiotics, Antivirals, and other agents that create an acidic environment that favors the pathogens.  

Daily Uses

In homes, fermentation is a common process. From the production of alcohol-based beverages to veggies, fermentation is a crucial process in homes. Even more, you can use the process of fermentation to turn potatoes into gin and vodka.

In the bread-making industry, fermentation takes center stage. Here, experts combine sugar, yeast, clean flour, and pure water to form bread. In most cases, bread making banks of yeast and lactobacilli.

Also, lactic acid is another type of fermentation. This type of fermentation delivers flavors to daily products and veggies. It can also be used to preserve daily products.

Another form of fermentation that is commonly used in homes is acetic acid fermentation. Here, starch and sugar are turned into sour testing vinegar as well as condiments.

Industrial Application

The fermentation industry is quickly skyrocketing. The need for commercially fermented foods is on the rise. Plus, the scarcity of lands to practice sustainable agriculture is quickly making people turn to fermented foods. Even more, fermentation is important in the production of ethanol that generates biofuels. The best thing about this renewable energy source is that it comes from feedstocks such as grains, corn, cane, and cassava. This fuel can also be obtained from grass and forest residues.

Other industrial uses of fermentation include the production of butyrate, acetate, and hydrogen gas.

The Bottom

Industrial fermentation is a highly rewarding industry. So, if you are planning to venture into it, get the basics right. The above guide will help you get going as far as fermentation is concerned. Among other things, you’ll learn about different types of fermentation.

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