In den vergessenen Bergen Japans, versteckt in den alten Hügels, liegt der Ursprung von Yakult. Eine geheimnisvolle Essenz aus dem magischen Riesen-Bonsai…

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In den vergessenen Bergen Japans, versteckt in den alten Hügels, liegt der Ursprung von Yakult. Eine geheimnisvolle Essenz aus dem magischen Riesen-Bonsai…

Nun, wird man dieser Geschichte wohl glauben?!

Natürlich stammt Yakult aus Japan. Aber der Ursprung liegt nicht unbedingt in den vergessenen Bergen Japans.

Und schon gar nicht in einem magischen Riesen-Bonsai Baum.

Yakult wurde vor 85 Jahren vom japanischen Wissenschaftler Dr. Minoru Shirota entwickelt. Er erforschte verschiedenste Milchsäurebakterien, bis ihm Anfang der 1930er Jahre schließlich gelang, ein bestimmtes Bakterium zu selektieren und zu kultivieren, das all seinen Erwartungen entsprach. Ihm zu Ehren wurde dieses Bakterium Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) genannt.

Yakult ist keine magische Essenz mit einem geheimnisvollen Geschmack, es ist ein fermentiertes Magermilchgetränk und schmeckt frisch und fruchtig. Jedes Fläschchen Yakult enthält mindestens 20 Milliarden Lactobacillus casei Shirota Bakterien.

Das besondere an ihnen: sie erreichen den Darm lebend.

Yakult. Wissenschaft (keine Magie)

Original, Plus oder Light, wähle dein Yakult!

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Can all bacteria in fermented foods survive in the gut?

Not really again. Let’s take fermented milk as an example. Lactic acid-producing bacteria grow on the sugars and other nutrients in milk. As they multiply, the bacteria produce compounds that change the flavour, texture, and yield nutrients in a wide range of products including e.g. cheese or yogurt. Many yogurts, but not all, contain bacteria that when consumed can reach the gut alive. When this happens, these bacteria can have an impact on our health as validated by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). In a scientific opinion, EFSA’s panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies agreed that yogurt containing at least 108 living cells/g  starter cultures of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus improve the digestion of lactose in people with lactose maldigestion

Do all fermented foods contain live microbes?

Not really. To produce fermented foods, ingredients must undergo a transformation process mediated by microbes, either naturally or through the addition of a starter culture. However, some products may afterwards be treated (pasteurized, baked, or filtered) in a way that ultimately kills/removes any live microbes before we consume them. For example, sourdough.  When the dough is used to make bread it will be baked and this exposure to heat will kill the microbes. As well, some fermented vegetables are packaged in jars and may be heat treated as a means of extending its shelf life, or simply to stop the fermentation. Finally, when you prepare e.g. sauerkraut in your kitchen, you probably will be heating it, so you will also kill or inactivate the bacteria.

It may not always be the case for some fermented products to be treated. For those, a very high number of live bacteria will be present at the end of the fermentation.

MUST YOU HAVE A STARTER CULTURE TO MAKE YOUR OWN FERMENTED FOOD?

Yes and no. First of all, let’s recap about what a starter culture is. This is a preparation containing  a high concentration of desired microorganisms that will start and assist a fermentation by making specific chemical, smell and taste changes. Thus, the process becomes efficient, controllable, predictable and… safe!

Fermented foods were born as “happy accidents” when in the early times suddenly “spoiled” food turned long-lasting and pleasant-tasting. Such accidents were possible thanks to spontaneous or natural fermentation, an event in which you only rely on the microbes present in the environment or the food to colonize the raw materials. If you opt to go for this kind of fermentation, be aware of the risk of contamination. You should take extra care about many aspects such as: acidity, oxygen, temperature, moulds, etc. By not having a proper control over the fermentation, it is possible that you may have an outgrowth of non-friendly microbes in your food. These can produce off-flavours or even toxic compounds that can put your health in danger.

Using a starter is not a must but as you can see, it definitely gives you many advantages. This includes a fast acid formation that makes the development of non-desired bacteria much more difficult. What is also important is that, in principle, the quality of commercial starters is checked and you can get information if the microbes present can produce potential compounds that could lead to unpleasant effects including headache, diarrhoea, etc.