Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Fermentation


Biohydrogen production (BHP) can be achieved by direct or indirect biophotolysis, photo-fermentation and dark fermentation, whereof only the latter does not require the input of light energy. Our motivation to compile this review was to quantify and comprehensively report strains and process performance of dark fermentative BHP. This review summarizes the work done on pure and defined co-culture dark fermentative BHP since the year 1901. Qualitative growth characteristics and quantitative normalized results of H2 production for more than 2000 conditions are presented in a normalized and therefore comparable format to the scientific community.Statistically based evidence shows that thermophilic strains comprise high substrate conversion efficiency, but mesophilic strains achieve high volumetric productivity. Moreover, microbes of Thermoanaerobacterales (Family III) have to be preferred when aiming to achieve high substrate conversion efficiency in comparison to the families Clostridiaceae and Enterobacteriaceae. The limited number of results available on dark fermentative BHP from fed-batch cultivations indicates the yet underestimated potential of this bioprocessing application. A Design of Experiments strategy should be preferred for efficient bioprocess development and optimization of BHP aiming at improving medium, cultivation conditions and revealing inhibitory effects. This will enable comparing and optimizing strains and processes independent of initial conditions and scale.

Concepts: Anaerobic digestion, Motivation, Fermentation, Fermentative hydrogen production, Dark fermentation, Biohydrogen, Photofermentation


Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus is one of the most widely used starter culture strains in industrial fermented dairy manufacture. It is also common in naturally fermented dairy foods made using traditional methods. The subsp. bulgaricus strains found in naturally fermented foods may be useful for improving current industrial starter cultures; however, little is known regarding its genetic diversity and population structure. Here, a collection of 298 L. delbrueckii strains from naturally fermented products in Mongolia, Russia, and West China was analyzed by multi-locus sequence typing based on eight conserved genes. The 251 confirmed subsp. bulgaricus strains produced 106 unique sequence types, the majority of which were assigned to five clonal complexes (CCs). The geographical distribution of CCs was uneven, with CC1 dominated by Mongolian and Russian isolates, and CC2-CC5 isolates exclusively from Xinjiang, China. Population structure analysis suggested six lineages, L1-L6, with various homologous recombination rates. Although L2-L5 were mainly restricted within specific regions, strains belonging to L1 and L6 were observed in diverse regions, suggesting historical transmission events. These results greatly enhance our knowledge of the population diversity of subsp. bulgaricus strains, and suggest that strains from CC1 and L4 may be useful as starter strains in industrial fermentation.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Bacteria, Fermentation, Yoghurt, Kumis


The purposeful application of fermentation in food and beverage preparation, as a means to provide palatability, nutritional value, preservative, and medicinal properties, is an ancient practice. Fermented foods and beverages continue to make a significant contribution to the overall patterns of traditional dietary practices. As our knowledge of the human microbiome increases, including its connection to mental health (for example, anxiety and depression), it is becoming increasingly clear that there are untold connections between our resident microbes and many aspects of physiology. Of relevance to this research are new findings concerning the ways in which fermentation alters dietary items pre-consumption, and in turn, the ways in which fermentation-enriched chemicals (for example, lactoferrin, bioactive peptides) and newly formed phytochemicals (for example, unique flavonoids) may act upon our own intestinal microbiota profile. Here, we argue that the consumption of fermented foods may be particularly relevant to the emerging research linking traditional dietary practices and positive mental health. The extent to which traditional dietary items may mitigate inflammation and oxidative stress may be controlled, at least to some degree, by microbiota. It is our contention that properly controlled fermentation may often amplify the specific nutrient and phytochemical content of foods, the ultimate value of which may associated with mental health; furthermore, we also argue that the microbes (for example, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species) associated with fermented foods may also influence brain health via direct and indirect pathways.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Metabolism, Nutrition, Microbiology, Antioxidant, Alcoholic beverage, Fermentation


Regionally distinct wine characteristics (terroir) are an important aspect of wine production and consumer appreciation. Microbial activity is an integral part of wine production, and grape and wine microbiota present regionally defined patterns associated with vineyard and climatic conditions, but the degree to which these microbial patterns associate with the chemical composition of wine is unclear. Through a longitudinal survey of over 200 commercial wine fermentations, we demonstrate that both grape microbiota and wine metabolite profiles distinguish viticultural area designations and individual vineyards within Napa and Sonoma Counties, California. Associations among wine microbiota and fermentation characteristics suggest new links between microbiota, fermentation performance, and wine properties. The bacterial and fungal consortia of wine fermentations, composed from vineyard and winery sources, correlate with the chemical composition of the finished wines and predict metabolite abundances in finished wines using machine learning models. The use of postharvest microbiota as an early predictor of wine chemical composition is unprecedented and potentially poses a new paradigm for quality control of agricultural products. These findings add further evidence that microbial activity is associated with wine terroir

Concepts: Yeast, Vitis vinifera, Wine, Fermentation, Viticulture, Winemaking, Terroir, Vineyard


Archaeochemistry as the application of the most recent analytical techniques to ancient samples now provides an unprecedented understanding of human culture throughout history. In this paper, we report on a multiplatform analytical investigation of 170-y-old champagne bottles found in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, which provides insight into winemaking practices used at the time. Organic spectroscopy-based nontargeted metabolomics and metallomics give access to the detailed composition of these wines, revealing, for instance, unexpected chemical characteristics in terms of small ion, sugar, and acid contents as well as markers of barrel aging and Maillard reaction products. The distinct aroma composition of these ancient champagne samples, first revealed during tasting sessions, was later confirmed using state-of-the-art aroma analysis techniques. After 170 y of deep sea aging in close-to-perfect conditions, these sleeping champagne bottles awoke to tell us a chapter of the story of winemaking and to reveal their extraordinary archaeometabolome and elemental diversity in the form of chemical signatures related to each individual step of champagne production.

Concepts: Baltic Sea, Wine, Sea, Fermentation


Although human perception of food flavors involves integration of multiple sensory inputs, the most salient sensations are taste and olfaction. Ortho- and retronasal olfaction are particularly crucial to flavor because they provide the qualitative diversity so important to identify safe versus dangerous foods. Historically, flavor research has prioritized aroma volatiles present at levels exceeding the orthonasally measured odor threshold, ignoring the variation in the rate at which odor intensities grow above threshold. Furthermore, the chemical composition of a food in itself tells us very little about whether or not that food will be liked. Clearly, alternative approaches are needed to elucidate flavor chemistry. Here we use targeted metabolomics and natural variation in flavor-associated sugars, acids, and aroma volatiles to evaluate the chemistry of tomato fruits, creating a predictive and testable model of liking. This nontraditional approach provides novel insights into flavor chemistry, the interactions between taste and retronasal olfaction, and a paradigm for enhancing liking of natural products. Some of the most abundant volatiles do not contribute to consumer liking, whereas other less abundant ones do. Aroma volatiles make contributions to perceived sweetness independent of sugar concentration, suggesting a novel way to increase perception of sweetness without adding sugar.

Concepts: Food, Sense, Olfaction, Taste, Tomato, Flavor, Sugar, Fermentation


Fermented foods and beverages were among the first processed food products consumed by humans. The production of foods such as yogurt and cultured milk, wine and beer, sauerkraut and kimchi, and fermented sausage were initially valued because of their improved shelf life, safety, and organoleptic properties. It is increasingly understood that fermented foods can also have enhanced nutritional and functional properties due to transformation of substrates and formation of bioactive or bioavailable end-products. Many fermented foods also contain living microorganisms of which some are genetically similar to strains used as probiotics. Although only a limited number of clinical studies on fermented foods have been performed, there is evidence that these foods provide health benefits well-beyond the starting food materials.

Concepts: Bacteria, Nutrition, Food, Fermentation, Food safety, Kefir, Pickling, Fermented foods


These are the days when one would go online first seeking home remedies before seeing a doctor. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one such popular yet scientifically under-validated remedy. Our results prove the unequivocal antimicrobial activity of ACV to be true at full strength concentrations. However, the activity cannot be generalised because although strong antibacterial activity was observed at 25% concentrations, in terms of antifungal activity, yeasts, especially Candida were found to be less susceptible. The antimicrobial/antioxidant properties are ascertained to the total phenolic contents of ACV, as confirmed by our characterisation of the bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity. When checking for its cytotoxicity, ACV exhibited toxicity even at concentrations as low as 0.7%. These results indicate that there is no question of generalising the idea of ACV usage, instead more in vitro and in vivo validations are necessary in order to precisely weigh the pros and cons of ACV.

Concepts: In vivo, In vitro, Toxicity, Vinegar, Fermentation, Apple, Cider, Apple cider


Fresh strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) are valued for their characteristic red color, juicy texture, distinct aroma, and sweet fruity flavor. In this study, genetic and environmentally induced variation is exploited to capture biochemically diverse strawberry fruit for metabolite profiling and consumer rating. Analyses identify fruit attributes influencing hedonics and sensory perception of strawberry fruit using a psychophysics approach. Sweetness intensity, flavor intensity, and texture liking are dependent on sugar concentrations, specific volatile compounds, and fruit firmness, respectively. Overall liking is most greatly influenced by sweetness and strawberry flavor intensity, which are undermined by environmental pressures that reduce sucrose and total volatile content. The volatile profiles among commercial strawberry varieties are complex and distinct, but a list of perceptually impactful compounds from the larger mixture is better defined. Particular esters, terpenes, and furans have the most significant fits to strawberry flavor intensity. In total, thirty-one volatile compounds are found to be significantly correlated to strawberry flavor intensity, only one of them negatively. Further analysis identifies individual volatile compounds that have an enhancing effect on perceived sweetness intensity of fruit independent of sugar content. These findings allow for consumer influence in the breeding of more desirable fruits and vegetables. Also, this approach garners insights into fruit metabolomics, flavor chemistry, and a paradigm for enhancing liking of natural or processed products.

Concepts: Perception, Sense, Fruit, Sugar, Fermentation, Garden strawberry, Fragaria, Accessory fruit


Sauvignon blanc wines are produced under a wide variety of winemaking conditions, some of which include different fruit-ripening levels, cold soaks and the use of fining agents and inert gases. Anecdotal evidence suggests that sensory variations among these wines may have to do with their phenolic composition and concentration. Therefore the aim of this work was to study the effects of different winemaking conditions typically used in Chile on the phenolic composition and concentration of Sauvignon blanc wines.

Concepts: Oenology, Fermentation, Noble gas, Gases, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Chilean wine