Kimchee and Fermentation
Each country has its own unique food item that is special and has been providing local community with rich nutrition and various flavors. Such food item in Korea is called Kimchee. It was not well-known to the world until the Olympic Games in 1988. This was the first time when numerous people were exposed to such interesting flavors of Kimchee—spicy, fermented bok choy or Chinese cabbage product. By fermentation, Koreans were able to preserve much nutritional values of the cabbage, improve and develop layers of different flavors, and significantly increases shelf life of the product. Moreover, Kimchee fermentation has been providing Koreans with rich source of vitamin C and B throughout the history. One popular misconception is that Kimchee fermentation is only for preserving bok choy. However, it is used to preserve over 100 different food items, such as onions, garlic, and radish as well as fish, clam, oysters, squid, and various other marine food sources in coastal areas.
Fermentation process is based on a few different microorganisms, such as Weissella spp, Leuconostoc spp, and Lactobacillus spp (Lee et al., 2002 andLim et al., 1989 Leuconostoc mesenteriodes is predominating in the early stages as it provides anaerobic conditions at pH of the Kimchee is around 7.0-8.0. Following the this stage, lactobacillus spp play a major role in fermentation. Lactobacillus spp are anaerobes that produce lactic acid from simple sugars, such as mono or disaccharides. The primary means of preservation comes from low pH and salt tolerance that inhibits growth of non-halophilic microorganisms. (Shin et al., 1996). As anaerobic condition is achieved, Lactobacillus...
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...ncreases dramatically as level pH decrease from day 10 to day 20.
Lee et al., 2002 J.S. Lee, K.C. Lee, J.S. Ahn, T.I. Mheen, Y.R. Pyun and Y.H. Park, Weissella koreensis sp. nov., isolated from kimchi, Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 52 (2002), pp. 1257–1261.
Lim et al., 1989 C.R. Lim, H.K. Park and H.U. Han, Reevalution of isolation and identification of gram-positive bacteria in kimchi, Korean J. Microbiol. 27 (1989), pp. 404–413 (in Korean).
Mheen and Kwon, 1984 T.I.
Mheen and T.W. Kwon, Effect of temperature and salt concentration on kimchi fermentation, Korean J. Food Sci. Technol. 16 (1984), pp. 443–450.
Shin et al., 1996 D.H. Shin, M.S. Kim, J.S. Han, D.K. Lim and W.S. Bak, Changes of chemical composition and microflora in commercial kimchi, Korean J. Food. Sci. Technol. 28 (1996), pp. 137–145 (in Korean).