Course:FNH200/Lessons/Lesson 09/Page 09.1

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9.1 Microorganisms

Terms to remember

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetic engineering
  • Aerobic, anaerobic
  • Microbial antagonism
  • Antimicrobial agents
  • Starter cultures
  • Rennin, chymosin
  • Rennet
  • Cheddaring
  • Curd, whey
  • Lactic acid bacteria
  • Propionibacterium shermanii
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Penicillium roquefortii
  • Penicillium camembertii
  • Penicillium candidum

Microorganisms have been employed for centuries in food preservation. Early practitioners of food fermentations were not aware that preservation of food was aided by the actions of microscopic organisms growing in the agricultural or fisheries commodities and producing preservative agents such as acids, alcohols and substances with antimicrobial properties.

Within the broad classification of microorganisms as "the good, the bad, and the ugly" (as discussed in Lesson 5), the microorganisms used in the production of fermented foods are defined as "the good." These microorganisms produce beneficial effects in foods as a consequence of their growth and metabolism in the food products.