Traditional Fermented Foods and Beverages from a Microbiological and Nutritional Perspective: The Colombian Heritage
Fermentation has been used for preserving foods for centuries prior to the invention of pasteurization and sterilization, and every culture has a variety of fermented products as part of its diet. This paper reviews the diversity of fermented foods and beverages from Latin America; these fermented products are produced by traditional methods that exploit mixed cultures of various nonpathogenic microorganisms. Fermented foods covered in this review include maize, cassava, palm sap, sugar cane juice, cocoa, and milk. We explore the history of some Colombian fermented foods and beverages, which are today part of the tradition of some ethnic groups, and evaluate their technology, microbiology, the presence of some nutritional factors, and safety concerns. To the best of our knowledge, this is the 1st systematic review on Colombian fermented beverages and foods, and we believe that it may contribute to valorize these products that are still part of the Latin America tradition.