Vegetable Fermentations

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Many different vegetable fermentation processes are currently carried out on an industrial scale, most of which still rely on selection of the autochthonous microbiota of the raw materials and fermentation plant. The implication of lactic acid bacteria in such processes has been deciphered by classical microbiological techniques in most cases. The application of DNA-based culture-dependent and culture-independent analyses may provide new insights into the microbial successions that take place during the fermentation as well as the microbial diversity. These data can be linked to other issues such as flavor development or regional differences in fermented foods. DNA-based methods can also help to evaluate the fitness of starter cultures used for vegetable fermentations. In this chapter, advances in the understanding of several vegetable fermentations (including caper berries, “Almagro” eggplants, sauerkraut and table olives) by use of molecular techniques are discussed.