[For further information on the Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and
Agriculture see Forum website.
Note, participants are assumed to be speaking on their own behalf, unless they state otherwise.]
Sent: 18 June 2004 07:36
Subject: 9: Traditional fermentation/Starter cultures in East Africa
This is from Francis M. Mathooko, Kenya, and I am currently a visiting research fellow in Okayama, Japan.
Food biotechnology has been in existence for a long time in the East African region. It is only that it has not been packaged well. Food biotechnology may be the way forward for this region. However, it may not be embraced as has been the case with Information and Communication Technology. We need simple terms/words which are consumer-friendly if we are to make a breakthrough in this. In this region, and in particular in Kenya, a lot of research has been conducted on traditional fermentation and isolation of starter cultures from traditionally fermented milk (Maasai and Kalenjin communities) as well as brew. In fact, one researcher in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya, has been working (in collaboration with a German institute) on the biotechnology of fermented milk for his Ph.D. programme and have isolated key microorganisms which can indeed be commercialised. If this venture is taken a step further, I am sure it can revolutionalize the way people and scientists view traditional fermentation. It has the potential. And at the end of the day the limiting factor in developing countries is availability of funds to realise our dreams.
Dr. Francis M. Mathooko
Francis M. Mathooko, Ph.D.
Visiting Research Fellow
Laboratory of Postharvest Agriculture
Faculty of Agriculture
Tsushima, Okayama 700-8530
Tel. +81 - 86 - 251 - 8337
Fax: +81 - 86 - 251 - 8338
mmathooko (at) yahoo.co.uk
Sent: 18 June 2004 07:45
Subject: 10: Traditional fermentation - Burkina Faso - soumbala
I am Irene Ouoba from Burkina Faso. My academic background is food microbiology and biochemistry.
One problem with traditionally fermented food is the variability of the stability and the nutritional quality of the fermented products. The use of well selected starter cultures based on well defined identification and characteristics can help solve this problem. In Burkina Faso we have selected Bacillus subtilis starter cultures for controlled fermentation of African locust bean for soumbala production. This selection was based on the proteolytic, lipolytic, saccharolytic and antimicrobial properties of the Bacillus isolates. These starters are being used in a small unit production and give different type of soumbala according to the starter but with a quite high stability and nutritional quality.
Dr Irene Ouoba
Departement de Technology Alimentaire(DTA/IRSAT/CNRST)
05 BP:6202 Ouagadougou 05
iro (at) kvl.dk or ouobairene (at) hotmail.com
[Some background information on soumbala was given in Message 3, June 17...Moderator].
Sent: 18 June 2004 09:07
Subject: 11: Fermented foods - Himachal Pradesh
I am Shashi D. Bhushan, Ph.D. in post harvest technology (fermentation technology), presently working on secondary metabolite production from some important medicinal plants, as research associate at the Division of Biotechnology, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR) Laboratory (HP) in India. For me, this conference is a great oppourtunity to interact with the researchers, scholars or individuals involved in one or other way in food processing or fermentation along with the inputs from biotechnology. I have been working on fermented foods for the last five years and was earlier engaged in the research work on preservation, processing and storage of horticultural produce.
Biotechnology, no doubt is an efficient tool for the improvement of the traditional fermented food. It also gives a new dimension to the preservation of fruits and vegetables, as biopreservation methods. But I also agree with the views of Joseph Hounhouigan (Message 3, June 17) that these fermentation not always be uncontrolled. However, when the fermentation is over, it is the down-stream processing which affects the quality of the product and results in health hazards or deterioration of the product. Developing countries like India stepping forward at good pace and I am sure that biotechnology reaching to the door step of the producers and touching their life. In Himachal Pradesh, where a number of traditional alcoholic (Chaang, Moori, Angoori etc.) and non-alcoholic fermented foods (Batooru, babru etc.) as well as fermented vegetables are prepared, biotechnology has to play a major role in the development and improvement of these products.
Dr. Shashi Bhushan,
Division of Biotechnology,
Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR),
shashidbhushan (at) yahoo.co.in
Sent: 18 June 2004 14:09
Subject: 12: Areas where biotech can play a role // Aspects to consider for exploiting biotech
I am Dr P S Janaki Krishna, working as a 'Consultant' in the Andhra Pradesh Netherlands Biotechnology Programme being implemented at the Biotechnology Unit, Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad, India. My specialization is in plant biotechnology in the area of genetics and I am right now involved in research management.
First of all, I would like to congratulate the FAO for considering the interests/views of scientists in the field across the globe especially from developing countries. I would like to share my views in this conference for two reasons; Firstly all the FAO's e-conferences are lively and interesting and secondly, in our Programme we are trying to identify some feasible biotechnological projects in the area of food processing during the current year.
I acknowledge the views expressed by the friends from Africa, which is rich in traditional foods that are mostly derived through fermentation process. India too has lots of traditional foods like dosa, appam, idli, dhokla and khaman. Some of the traditional foods from other countries include; Philippine puto, Ethiopean Enjera, Tef Enjera, Sri Lankan Hopper (Appa), Nigerian Ogi, South African Mahewu (Magou), Mexican Pozol, Ghanian Kenkey etc. Likewise, we have several traditional foods, which are tasty and nutritious. The whole gamut of food fermentation depends on the microorganisms and their activity in the food. While some convert milk to yogurt, leaven bread or ferment fruit juice to wine, others cause food spoilage or even food poisoning. The latter group has received, and continues to get, attention from food safety considerations. Hence, when we consider food, safety and hygiene also play a very important role.
In my opinion in this conference we should also focus on the programmes that could be taken up in the developing countries for the benefit of poor to justify the conference's objective. Finally at the end of the conference if we would be able to get some leads for implementable programmes it would be useful. There are few areas where biotechnology can play a lot of role. These include:- Food preservation (as the post harvest losses are very high in view of short shelf life of many of the foods).