Why Are Fermented Foods Loved and Hated?

The first episode of “The Science of Cooking” explores how heat causes chemical changes in food, and the second episode discusses how physical methods change ingredients. Chemistry and physics have been discussed, so what role do organisms play in the cooking process? When it comes to cooking, we may not immediately think of the role of biology, but in fact, since ancient times, humans have been using microorganisms to create countless love-hate foods. This method of transforming food with microorganisms is called “fermentation”. Cooking_3_8 Human cooking culture is closely related to microorganisms.


The most popular fermented drink – alcohol When it comes

to the most popular fermented drink, it is alcohol. Archaeology has found that humans have been Portugal Phone Number dealing with alcohol as early as 10,000 years ago. Alcohol is not only delicious, it is more exciting and enjoyable to drink. But human love for it is more likely related to our evolutionary history. Simply put, alcohol is the fermented product of sugar. This fermentation process is mainly caused by yeast – in the absence of oxygen, yeast will convert sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide. This is the process we use to turn grains and fruits into delicious alcoholic beverages. But why did yeast develop the ability to convert sugar into alcohol?

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Yeast converts sugar into alcohol Scientists believe

this is the result of competition between microbes. When the fruit is ripe, the microorganisms have to fight to get a share of the sugar in the ripe fruit. However, compared with other bacteria, the reproduction speed of yeast is not fast, which is definitely not conducive to its survival. So yeast has developed another secret weapon, which is that it has enzymes that convert sugar into alcohol. As long as alcohol is produced, alcohol kills bacteria and inhibits their growth. In contrast, yeasts are already somewhat resistant to alcohol. After producing ethanol, it was able to survive in the same environment. Yeast has won in evolutionary history by this “arms development”, and we often find traces of it in fruits today.

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