Historical Developments

Historically, SSF processes have been used since ancient time for food applications. Although it is believed that the discovery of fermentation was purely by chance, food fermentation was developed several thousands of years ago. SSF dates back to 6000 BC when Babylonians made beer from natural yeast. Egyptians used this technique for bread making in 2600 BC, using brewer's yeast. Cheese making with Penicillium roquefortii was recorded in Asia before the birth of Christ. Koji processing reported to be migrated from China to Japan in the seventh century. Miso, tempeh, tamari sauce, soy sauce, ang-kak, natto, tou-fu-ru, and minchin are some of the other ancient fermented foods known for centuries, which are prepared through SSF. Tempeh and tamari sauce are soybean products, the former is an Indonesian food fermented by Rhizopus species and the latter is a Japanese food produced by using Aspergillus tamari. Soy sauce, a brown, salty, tangy sauce, is obtained from a sterile mixture of wheat bran and soybean flour, fermented initially by lactic acid bacteria, followed by alcoholic fermentation and ripening. A mash of crushed and steamed soybeans is used as a substrate for miso. Normal fermentation is carried out for one week, followed by two months of ripening. The final product is ground into a paste, which is generally used in combination with other foods.

In the eighteenth century, SSF was used to make vinegar from apple pomace. The beginning of the twentieth century marked the use of SSF for the production of enzymes and organic acids using molds. There were several other developments of SSF technology for nonfood application in subsequent years. The period of the 1970s saw a major focus on production of SCP.

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