a previous batch, wrapped in banana leaves or perforated plastic bags, and incubated for up to 48 h at room temperature (1).

The tempeh should be harvested as soon as the bean cotyledons have been completely overgrown with mycelium and knitted into a compact cake. Freshly made tempe can be stored for a day or two at room temperature without changing many of its qualities or flavor characteristics. Traditionally in Indonesia, tempeh is consumed on the day it is made. If the fresh tempeh is stored for longer periods (more than 2 days) at room temperature, it becomes unsuitable for consumption because of off-flavors and odors produced by excessive proteolysis or by contaminating bacteria and other microorganisms.


Tempeh is an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is often used in the diet of diabetics because of the low utilizable carbohydrate content (1,25). During a 72-h fermentation of tempeh, total soluble solids and soluble nitrogen increase, respectively, from 13 to 28% and 0.5 to 2.5%, while the total nitrogen remains fairly constant. The nutrient composition of tempeh is presented in Table 7 (24).

Organisms Used

At least four species of Rhizopus (R. Oligosporus saito, R. oryzae,R. stolonifer (EhrenbexFries)Lind, and/?, arrhizus (Fisher) could be used in the preparation of tempeh. In addition to the mold R. oligosporus, numerous bacteria (both spore-forming and non-spore-forming types) and yeasts are reported to exist in tempeh. The presence of bacteria in the tempeh fermentation causes the off-odors and flavors of tempeh.


It is reported that the mold species responsible for tempeh fermentation do not produce aflatoxin. There have been no reports of toxin found in foods prepared from soybean. The mold required for tempeh fermentation is reported to protect tempeh and tempeh-like foods against aflatoxin production and aflatoxin-producing molds. The tempeh mold R. oligosporus prevents accumulation of aflatoxin in tempeh by hydrolyzing it (9).

Future Development

Tempeh has great potential as a key protein source in developing countries owing to its low cost and easy preparation. In the future, tempeh may play a major role in sat isfying the protein deficiency problems in underdeveloped countries. During tempeh preparation, two major problems are usually encountered: large energy requirement and losses of solids during preparation. There is a need for research on how to reduce energy input and losses of solids.

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