Microbiology of Fermentation of Popular Indian FoodWashington, D.C. - May 3, 2019 - A team of researchers from Pune, India, has unveiled the detailed microbiology of idli, a popular Indian food, somewhat like a rice cake, that people ferment overnight from batter made of rice and black gram lentils. Bacteria of the genus, Weissella, play the major role in the fermentation. Coauthor Milind S. Patole, M.Sc, PhD, said that idli is a superb source of probiotic microorganisms. He added that it is safe to consume, as pathogens such as Salmonella typhimurium are eradicated during fermentation, an observation his group has made in the laboratory, but has yet to publish. Additionally, the enzyme, phytase, is produced during fermentation. That enzyme degrades phytins, which are present in cereals, and which would otherwise render them difficult to digest.
The research is published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.