Food for thought

Edited by Charles Bamforth and Robert Ward

Oxford University Press

2014 | 832pp | £115

ISBN 9780199442707

This book provides a comprehensive account of the science and technology of fermented foods through contributions by leading experts. It covers a diverse range of foods, from the most common ones, such as beer, wine, bread, yoghurt, alcoholic drinks and fermented meats, to the lesser known ones, like fermented vegetable, fish and soya bean, as well as indigenous fermented dairy products. Two chapters also deal with fermentation for the biotechnological production of food ingredients. 

The book covers the subject in depth and from all angles, including raw materials availability, sourcing and composition, traditional and modern processing technologies and equipment, microbiological and biochemical changes during production, organoleptic properties and product quality, as well as product safety. All chapters are nicely structured and clearly present how fermentation science and technology have advanced over the years and the implications for industry and consumers. Most chapters cite a comprehensive list of references and include a number of photos (for example products and equipment), schematic process diagrams and metabolic pathways; tables and figures present research findings such as raw material compositional data, structures of bioactive or flavour chemicals and chromatograms demonstrating chemical characterisations. Most of the chapters conclude with a section on future research trends, which provide interesting food for thought.

Overall, this is an excellent book and despite being science-heavy, it is easy to read and understand. It would be ideal as a textbook for undergraduate or postgraduate students specialising in food fermentation, and very useful for researchers working in this multidisciplinary area.

Purchase The Oxford handbook of food fermentations from