Fermented foods and beverages of the North-East India

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North East India is characterized by a diverse population of people with different ethnic background. Most of the people of this region are tribal and bear their own methods of fermenting food materials for the purpose of preservation and taste enhancement and they have been carrying these from time immemorial. All the fermented products are region specific and have their own unique substrates and preparation methods. Materials such as soybeans, bamboo shoots and locally available vegetables are commonly fermented by most of the tribes. The fermented alcoholic beverages prepared in this region are unique from the rest of the world in several aspects and bears deep attachment with the socio-cultural lives of the people. The starter cultures used and the utilization of indigenous microbes reflect the expertise of these people in customary microbiology. Microbes such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida sp., Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) and Bacillus sp. have been found to be abundant of common occurrence in these products. These products also serve as a source of economy to many of the rural people, who prepares them at home and market locally. Detailed studies on the nutritive and medicinal value of these products can provide valuable information would prove beneficial in the use of these products on a wider scale. Formulation of new techniques to increase their shelf life would help in the commercialization of these products.

A. J. Das
S. C. Deka
International Food Research Journal