Table 4. Cultured Milk Products

Product type Fermentation


(U.S.) Acidophilus milk

(U.S.) Bulgarican milk

(EUR) Yakult (Japan) Dahi (India) Leben (Egypt)

Kifur (USSR)


Streptococcus therm.oph.ilus Lactobacillus bulgaricus Streptococcus cremoris Streptococcus lactis

Lactobacillus acidophilus

Lactabacillus bulgaricus

Streptococcus diacetyllactic Streptococci, Lactobacilli, yeast

Lactobacillus caucascus Leuconostoc spp

Moderate acid Moderate acid

High acid

High acid Moderate acid Moderate acid High acid

High alcohol increase over the 1966 figure. This, no doubt, reflects the healthy eating trend in the United States prompted by television commercials and magazine ads listing the health benefits of cultured milk products.

The basic fermentation is due to lactic acid bacteria. Historically, this was fermentation done by a mixed or unknown culture or back-slop, but modern technology has developed the pure culture with its predictable performance potentials.

The major flavor and taste component in these products is the lactic acid produced by the fermentation of the sugars by the bacteria. Although this flavor is considered acceptable in many societies, it is rejected completely in others. To increase the commercialization of these products, manufacturers have introduced products that contain added sugars, fruit preserves, and flavors. These innovations have also contributed to increased consumption, particularly in the United States.

During the fermentation the lactose in the milk is transformed via pyruvic acid to lactic acid. The small amount of lactose or its hydrolysis products galactose and glucose is below the threshold for detecting sweetness, but the lactic acid may account for more than 2% of the mass of the product and, by that, contribute a significant flavor and taste effect. The fermentation pathway may favor both enanti-mer formation (l( +) and d( —) lactic acid), as depicted in Figure 1. The preferred metabolite, in flavor terms, is the l( +) or a harsh off-flavor will be observed (15).

The basic microorganisms used are the lactobacilli, streptococci, and leuconostocs. The major difference in their flavor is the amount of lactic acid produced and the perception of the acid taste. One exception is the product from the USSR called Kifur, which undergoes a secondary fermentation to create ethyl alcohol. This product is also known as the champagne of milk (16).

Yogurt Flavor. Yogurt flavor is also influenced by acet-aldehyde, another product of lactose from the fermentation of pyruvic acid by Lactobacillus bulgaricus. In yogurt the acetaldehyde level differs greatly with the type of micro-organism(s) used (17). There is no agreement on the acetaldehyde values that give an optimum flavor effect (18).

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