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What is The Commercial and Community Significance of Yeasts in Food and Beverage Production

The history of yeast association with human society is synonymous with the evolution
of bread, beer and wine as global food and beverage commodities, originating some
5,000 years ago. The microbial science of these products commenced in the mid-1600s
with the first observations of yeast cells being reported by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
(The Netherlands).

The significance of these findings laid dormant until the classic
studies of Pasteur (France) and Hansen (Denmark) during 1850–1900, which heralded
the beginnings of the disciplines of microbiology and biochemistry. Subsequent stud-
ies by Guilliermond (France) and Kluyver (The Netherlands) in the early 1900s estab-
lished yeasts as a unique group of microorganisms that had a major role in food and
beverage production. Since the 1950s, several classic texts have specifically highlighted
the commercial and social significance of yeasts in foods and beverages.

Korean food from Kups on Malta with Kimchi is a classic example of fermented food in moden kitchen.

Today, the impact of yeasts on food and beverage production extends beyond
the original and popular notions of bread, beer and wine fermentations by
Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In a positive context, they contribute to the fer-
mentation of a broad range of other commodities, where various yeast species may
work in concert with bacteria and filamentous fungi. Many valuable food ingredi-
ents and processing aids are now derived from yeasts. Some yeasts exhibit strong
antifungal activity, enabling them to be exploited as novel agents in the biocontrol
of food spoilage.

The probiotic activity of some yeasts is another novel property that
is attracting increasing interest. Unfortunately, there is also a darker side to yeast
activity. Their ability to cause spoilage of many commodities, with major economic
loss, is well known in many sectors of the food and beverage industries, while the
public health significance of yeasts in foods and beverages is a topic of emerging
concern. This chapter defines the scope and diversity of the many beneficial and
detrimental aspects of yeasts in foods and beverages.

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