Everyone likes a fine glass of wine or a cool splash from a beer bottle. But have you ever wondered what made grapes turn into that fine bottle of redness? Fermentation is the chemical transformation of any organic matter via microbial metabolism. Although, we are quite familiar with fermentation, there is another interesting category called ‘malolactic fermentation.’ Enologists discovered that, after the process of alcoholic fermentation, young wines undergo secondary production of carbon dioxide.

In this process, the malic acid is broken down into lactic acid and carbon dioxide.

Precision fermentation is a more advanced type of metabolic fermentation. The term ‘precision fermentation’ has recently been used to refer to fermentation processes optimized using specific microbial hosts as ‘cell factories to produce high-value functional food ingredients with high yields and purity. Cell factories are engineered microbes and plant cells that can produce chemicals, proteins and polymers. The main distinction between fermentation and precision fermentation is that the microorganisms used in the latter are designed to produce only a particular end product. Fungi are eukaryotic, saprophytic microorganisms with strong environmental adaptability, which makes them suitable microbial hosts for precision fermentation. They can be called one of the most efficient hosts for industrial-scale production, due to their natural tendency to accumulate high levels of valuable food compounds. Fungi, being eukaryotic make them tolerant to various factors.

Traditional Fungal Food Fermentations

One application of precision fermentation is the production of chymosin, a type of rennet that is used to make cheese. In recent years, precision fermentation methods have been applied to traditional fermentation to speed up the process, increase yields and improve the quality, safety, nutritional and flavour profiles of the food, while reducing the cost of production. Raising the alcohol content of beers and wines is a challenge faced by the Alcoholic Beverage Industry. Precision fermentation comes into play here, as it can be harnessed to solve this problem. It can be used for the diversion of carbon metabolic flux from ethanol to alternative carbon sinks within the fermenting yeast. Even though precision fermentation is heavily used in the alcoholic beverage industry, it is also adopted in some traditional fermentation processes, like the manufacture of bread dough, potato-based chips, wheat-based bread, etc.

Fermented foods and drinks are increasingly common because of their longer shelf lives, safety, usability, sensory and nutritional qualities. The latter contains bioactive molecules, vitamins and other ingredients that are more readily available as a result of fermentation. Numerous fermented foods also contain live microorganisms that may benefit digestive health as well as other aspects of health, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Fermented foods can contain a wide range of microorganisms, depending on how they were produced and processed, how long they were stored and other factors. In this review, we looked at studies that were already published and in which lactic acid and other relevant bacteria were counted from the most popular fermented foods, such as cultured dairy products, cheese, fermented sausage and yoghurt.

Food Industry_ Processing Whey into milk powder

Microbial hosts are used in precision fermentation as “cell factories” to produce certain functional components. These components are normally used at considerably lower levels and have higher purity requirements than the main protein constituents. These useful additives can enhance the sensory qualities and practical qualities of food made from plants or from animal meat. With careful fermentation, enzymes, flavourings, vitamins, natural colours and lipids can be produced. Examples include the dairy proteins from Perfect Day, the egg proteins from Clara Foods and the hemeprotein from Impossible Foods. Fermented foods and beverages are more popular because of their longer shelf life, safety, usability, sensory and nutritional benefits. The latter is more readily available due to fermentation and contains bioactive compounds, vitamins and other ingredients. Additionally, many fermented foods contain live microorganisms that may improve digestive health.

Target Selection and Design

The reasons fermented foods and drinks are so popular are that they have longer shelf lives, security, usability, sensory and nutritional advantages. Fermentation has enhanced the availability of vitamins, bioactive compounds and other components in the latter case. Live microbes, which are included in many fermented foods, may also offer additional health benefits, including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes as well as having positive effects on the digestive system. The number of microorganisms in fermented foods can vary greatly depending on the production and processing techniques utilized as well as the conditions and period of storage. In this study, we examined published research that measured the amount of lactic acid and other relevant bacteria in the most often consumed fermented foods such as cultured dairy.

Precision Fermentation targets specific molecules

In order to produce cultured meat, target molecules such as growth factors free of animal origin are used. Existing players in this market include ORF Genetics, Richcore and Peprotech. Furthermore, the key animal-free components of the scaffolding for more sophisticated, highly structured cultivated meat products may be proteins produced through fermentation, such as collagen or fibronectin. In the case of a protein target, the DNA of the host organism contains the instructions for producing the protein, either as naturally occurring genes or as genes that have been artificially inserted. Both engineered and non-engineered approaches may be viable, depending on the aim. For instance, Impossible Foods engineers a yeast host strain to accommodate the soy leghemoglobin protein for effective, scalable production.

Challenges in target selection for precision fermentation

Simply figuring out which molecules contribute the most to particular properties of animal products is one of the most elementary challenges for target selection. The flavour of various types of meat is influenced by a plethora of volatile substances, many of which vary according to the species and cut. To create an agreed-upon “wish list” of target molecules that could be produced through fermentation, these chemicals need to be more thoroughly identified and categorized.


1. The science of fermentation (2023) | GFI

Note: For further details regarding references, the reader can contact the author of the article.

About the Authors:
1. Anuja Bejoy
Student (III Yr., B.Tech. Food Processing Technology)
Karunya Institute of Technology & Sciences.

2. Dr. Wasiya Farzana
Assistant Professor
Food Processing Technology
Karunya Institute of Technology & Sciences
Email ID:


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An editor by day & dreamer at night; passionately involved with both print and digital media; Pet lover; Solo traveller.

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