Isolation and Characterization of Starter Culture Bacteria for Ensete Ventricosum Fermentation
In Ethiopia different kinds of traditionally fermented foods and beverages are processed and consumed. Traditional fermentation takes place by microorganisms present in the substrate without addition of functional starter culture. This usually leads to long fermentation time, extensive work load on workers and inconsistent product quality. Kocho is one of the widely used Ethiopian fermented foods that suffer this problem. In developed countries production of fermented foods is based on the use of starter cultures, for instance lactic acid bacteria that initiate rapid acidification of the raw material. In Ethiopia the use of starter culture is not a common practice. In this study eight lactic acid producing bacteria were isolated as potential starter culture organisms for enset fermentation. They were characterized to genus level and screened by their desirable characteristics for fermentation. Isolates k15 (Lactobacillus spp.) and C (Streptococcus spp.) were found to be promising starter culture organisms. Both isolates were able to grow best at pH 4-8, 5℃-10℃ 2-6%NaCl and fermented enset in 12 days. The fermented enset (Kocho) was processed for nutritional value and sensory evaluations. The starter culture fermented enset had superior quality than traditionally fermented one in terms of nutritional content, color, odor, texture, test and overall acceptability. These isolates can be used for preparation of starter culture for enset fermentation that would reduce fermentation time, enhance the quality and market value of kocho there by contributing for ensuring food security in enset growing regions of Ethiopia.