Legumes are used for food production mainly in Asia. Fermentation improves digestibility of legumes by hydro-lyzing proteins, and breaking down antinutritional molecules like trypsin inhibitors.
(a) Tempe (Tempeh) Kedele: This is a fermented soybean-based food, popular with American vegetarians and also available in Canada, the West Indies, Holland, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It is supplied in the form of a white, moldy cake. The beans are cleaned, soaked, dehulled, partially cooked, drained, inoculated, packed in banana leaves or perforated plastic bags, and incubated for 2 days to produce tempe. A variety of fungi have been isolated from Malaysian tempe including various species of Aspergillus, Mucor, Penicillium, and Rhizopus by Yeoh and Merican (1977). In tempe of other origins bacteria such as Bacillus and Micrococcus sp. may also be present; (b) Tempelike foods from broad beans and cowpeas: Rhizopus arrhizus is used in the production of tempe products from broad beans. R. oligosporus, R. oryzae, and R. arrhizus are used for tempe products from cowpeas. Different Rhizopus species give products with different aromas and flavors (Djurtoft and Jensen 1977); (c) Oncom (Ontjon): A mixed culture of microorganisms with Rhizopus or Neurospora species predominating is used to produce this cakelike product formed by fermenting peanut presscake. Peanut presscake is soaked, drained, crumbled, mixed thoroughly with solid waste from tapioca production, steamed, cooled and formed into flat cakes, inoculated with molds, covered with banana leaves, and fermented at room temperature for about 2 days to form oncom (Fardiaz 1987); (d) West African Dawadawa: This is prepared by fermenting locust beans and consumed mainly in West Africa. Yeasts, spore forming bacilli and lactic acid bacteria are involved in the fermentation. The pulp is removed from the seeds before they are boiled and then dehulled. The dehulled seeds are soaked, washed, cooked, spread on a tray, and covered with leaves then fermented for 2-3 days (Padmaja and George 1999). (e) Chinese Chee-fan: This is in solid form, prepared from soybean whey curd in China and eaten like cheese. Mucor spp. and A. glauca are involved in fermentation (Padmaja and George 1999); (f) Chinese Meitauza: This is Chinese soybean cake. It can be fried in oil or cooked with vegetables. Actinomucor elegans is the microorganism involved in fermentation (Padmaja and George 1999); (g) Chinese Sufu (Tau-hu-yi): Soybean milk is made from ground soybeans strained through cheesecloth and boiled. CaSO4 or MgSO4 is added to induce curdling (protein coagulation). The cake remaining after pressing is known as tofu. Sufu is a highly flavored creamy bean paste prepared by growing soybean curd with Actinomucor, Mucor, or Rhizopus species and fermenting the curd in a salt brine/rice wine mixture. Red sufu is colored with a derivative from the culture of Monascus purpureus on rice while the white sufu is untreated (Wai 1929); (h) Korean Meju: This is soybean paste used for seasoning. A. oryzae and Rhizopus sp. are involved in fermentation (Padmaja and George 1999); (i) Javan Bongkrek: This is coconut presscake popular in Central Java. R. oligosporus is involved in fermentation (Padmaja and George 1999). (j) Indian Papadem: This is solid crisp condiment made from black gram (Phaseolus mungo) in India. Saccharomyces sp. is involved (Padmaja and George 1999); (k) Indian Warries: Dehulled black gram grains are ground to a paste, spiced, and molded into small balls. These are then fermented for 4-10 days at room temperature and air-dried. The yeasts Candida spp., Debaryomyces hansenii, H. anomala, Rhodotorula lactosa, S. cerevisiae, and Wingea roberstii are involved in warri fermentation in addition to bacteria (Soni and Sandhu 1999); (l) Indian Dosa: This is a fried pancake-like staple food of South India prepared by fermenting a paste formed from rice and dehulled black gram. S. cerevisiae is the most predominant yeast involved in fermentation followed by D. hansenii, H. anomala, Oosporidium margaritiferum, T. pullulans, Kluyerveromyces marxianus, Candida kefyr, and C. krusei. Bacterial species belonging to Leuconostoc, Bacillus, and Streptococcus genera are also involved (Soni and Sandhu 1999); (m) Yukiwari natto: This is a kind of fermented whole soybean product made by mixing Itohiki natto with salt and rice koji. Rice koji, prepared by using A. oryzae, is the source of enzymes to hydrolyze the soybean components in fermentation, produced by A. oryzae. Itohiki natto is produced by inoculating soybeans which have been soaked, steamed and cooled with Bacillus natto, and allowing fermentation to occur for about a day at 40-45°C (Kiuchi et al. 1976).
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