Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are a large group of closely related bacteria that have similar properties such as lactic acid production, which is an end product of the fermentation. LAB include Lactobacillus, Lactococus, Streptococcus and Leuconostoc species. LAB fermentation is a common way of preparing food traditionally in Africa. Some of the traditionally fermented foods in Africa include maize porridge, alcoholic beverages and dairy products. Some of the main reasons for the fermentation practice using LAB is to increase food palatability and improve the quality of food by increasing the availability of proteins and vitamins. Furthermore, LAB confer preservative and detoxifying effects on food as well.
When used regularly, LAB fermented foods boost the immune system and strengthen the body in the fight against pathogenic bacterial infections. Thus, LAB fermentation is not only of a major economic importance, but it also promotes human health in Africa.
Keywords: lactic acid bacteria; fermentation; proteins; vitamins; food quality; traditional.
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