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History and Culture of Indian Ethnic Fermented Foods and Beverages

  • Jyoti Prakash Tamang
Chapter
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Abstract

“भारत” (Bharat) has one of the oldest civilizations in the world with vast history, food culture, bio-resources, ethnicity, and customs. Ethnic food has a cultural connotation in India and is linked to diverse ethnicity which represents the traits of wisdom and knowledge of ancient Indian people on culinary and also on the right choice of “bioactively enriched balance diets” since Rig Vedic period. Diversity of Indian fermented foods and beverages is related to diversity of ethnicity with unparalleled food culture of each community. More than 350 types of major and region-specific ethnic fermented foods and alcoholic beverages are produced either naturally or by adding mixed starter cultures using indigenous knowledge of food fermentation in India. Diversity of microorganisms ranges from mycelia fungi to enzyme-producing to alcohol-producing yeasts and Gram-positive and few Gram-negative bacteria with several functional properties. Functional microorganisms play important roles in the traditional fermentation processes by their functional properties enhancing several health-promoting benefits to the consumers such as bio-preservation of perishable foods, bio-enrichment of nutritional value, protective properties, bioavailability of minerals, production of antioxidants, antimicrobial activities, non-production of biogenic amines, and probiotics properties. Microbial diversity in ethnic fermented foods contributes significant genetic resources due to diverse food cultures of the multiethnic groups of people in India. It has been noticed that consumption of few uncommon ethnic foods is declining in many states of India due to change in life style, shifting from cultural food habit to commercial foods and fast foods affecting drastically the traditional culinary practices, and also due to climate change in some places.

Keywords

Food culture Indian ethnic foods Fermented foods History of foods 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jyoti Prakash Tamang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, DAICENTER (DBT-AIST International Centre for Translational and Environmental Research) and Bioinformatics CentreSikkim University (Central University)GangtokIndia

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