Fermentation- Principle, Types, Applications, Limitations

Fermentation is a process in which sugars are transformed into a new product through chemical reactions carried out by microorganisms. Fermentation is one of the oldest food processing technologies, dating back to at least 7000 BC. Since ancient times, humans have taken advantage of the natural fermentation process to develop many products, including foods, beverages, medicines, and fuels.

Fermentation has played a vital role in human civilization, as it has enabled people to preserve food, enhance its nutritional value and flavor, produce alcoholic drinks, and obtain useful substances. Fermentation can be considered the first use of biotechnology, which is the use of living systems or organisms to develop a technology.

The history of fermentation is closely linked to the history of human culture and science. Some of the earliest civilizations, such as the Sumerians and Egyptians, used fermentation to produce bread, wine, beer, cheese, and vinegar. They did not have the scientific knowledge to explain how fermentation worked, but they observed its effects and attributed them to divine intervention. Fermentation was often associated with religious rituals and ceremonies.

It was not until the nineteenth century that the scientific basis of fermentation was discovered by Louis Pasteur, who proved that fermentation is caused by microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast. He also found out that different microorganisms produce different types of fermentation and different end products. Pasteur`s work laid the foundation for modern microbiology and biotechnology.

Today, fermentation is still widely used in various industries and fields. Fermentation can produce a variety of products, such as ethanol, lactic acid, acetic acid, butyric acid, propionic acid, diacetyl, 2,3-butanediol, antibiotics, hormones, vaccines, enzymes, proteins, biofuels, biopolymers, biosurfactants, and bioremediation agents. Fermentation can also improve the quality and safety of food by inhibiting spoilage microorganisms and producing beneficial compounds.

Fermentation is a fascinating and versatile process that has shaped human history and culture for thousands of years. In this article, we will explore the principle of fermentation and its energy production, the types of fermentation and their processes, the applications of fermentation in medicine and the food industry, and other applications of fermentation including waste management and bioremediation. We will also discuss the limitations of fermentation including low scale production and possibilities of contamination.