Fermented foods are present in our daily diet and across different food cultures: from (sourdough) bread to beer, wine, pickles, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha and many more. Fermentation is on the rise, and many people make their own fermented foods at home. Fermentation technology could help us transition to more plant-based diets.
The European research project "HealthFerm" wants to understand the relationships between microorganisms involved in food fermentation, the fermented food products resulting from these processes, and their effects on human health. To reach this goal, the research team needs the support of citizens. At first, citizen scientists will provide information about their fermentation practices and attitudes towards fermented foods. Based on two questionnaires, researchers will select up to 1,000 citizens who can send their fermented foods for analysis, with an initial focus on sourdough.
The microorganisms isolated from fermented foods will be used to further investigate innovative pulse and cereal-based food fermentations, together with the health effects and consumer perceptions of novel fermented foods. Data on the microorganisms, genome, and metabolites discovered in the fermented foods from citizens will become available via an online, open access food microbiome atlas where participants will be able to assess and compare the microorganisms from their fermented foods.