Lactose fermentation is the process of breaking down sugar lactose (the sugar in milk) into acid either in food or in the body. Bacteria activities causes lactose fermentation and help in the production of fermented dairy foods such as yogurt and cheese. Also, laboratory testing for food poisoning can be done through the process of lactose fermentation.
Lactose Fermentation in Foods
Lactose fermentation contributes to the production of food such as yogurt, cheese and all fermented milk beverages. Fermentation basically exterminate all unwanted bacteria and pathogens during food production. Fermentation heightens the acidity of the food to a level with is inhabitable for these unwanted bacteria and pathogens.
In addition to the above, lactose fermentation also improves the flavor of the food. A typical example is the process of making yogurt. During yogurt production, bacteria such as Streptococcus thermophiles and Lactobacillus bulgaricus ingest the lactose in the milk and in turn, they produce lactic acid. These lactic acid ultimately changes the structure of the protein in the milk and makes it to congeal.
Lactose fermentation is important in these food production. Pasteurisation on the other hand kills the useful bacteria known as probiotics, in the fermented foods. Probiotics are very useful bacteria. Seek out products with active cultures if you want to increase your probiotic intake.
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Lactose Fermentation in Your Body
The process of lactose fermentation also occur in the body. Lactose normally gets digested in the small intestine with the help of an enzyme known as lactase. A large deposit of lactase is in the small intestine.
However, individuals who are lactose-intolerant have deficient lactase enzymes in the small intestine. Therefore, the sugar in milk – lactose – would have to move to the large intestine undigested. When in the large intestine, the lactose is absorbed after been broken down into smaller sugar. During this process in the large intestine, the gas that commonly occur when a lactose-intolerant individual ingest diary is produced.
According to a report in the Journal of Diary science, foods made from lactose fermentation such as yogurts and kefir contain less lactose because of the process of fermentation.
By this report, it is revealed that yogurt has 50% less lactose than milk and kefir has about 30% less lactose.
Lactose Fermentation in Laboratories
Laboratory testing for most cases of food poisoning can also be conduct using the process of lactose fermentation.
Basically, the test sample is placed on a growing tube for bacteria known as agar. The particular bacteria which caused the food poisoning is dictated through the test result — which is ascertained via the colour the test tube turns to over time.
However, the only types of bacteria which are dictated during laboratory testing for food poisoning are those which feed on lactose as food. When they feed on these lactose, they produce acids which change the colour of the test medium
Do it Yourself
Handling this process is pretty easy. You can do it yourself. Let’s take the process of making yogurt for instance.
You can make your own yogurt using the process of lactose fermentation. All you need is a thermometer.
The step by step method is giving below:
- Collect you milk and heat it until it gets to a temperature of 185 degrees;
- Cool it until it is 110 degree;
- Add about three tablespoons of plain yogurt with live active cultures and stir;
- Turn over your solution to a clean or sterilised container or jar and cover it;
- Keep the container or jar at a temperature of 110 degrees until the yogurt is made;
- Some common ways you can make your yogurt form includes putting the jar in the thermos, or a cooler or covering the jar with a blanket;
- Once you have your yogurt, the only thing standing between you and enjoying it is you.
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