Scholarly article on topic 'Folk to functional: An explorative overview of rice-based fermented foods and beverages in India'

Folk to functional: An explorative overview of rice-based fermented foods and beverages in India Academic research paper on "Chemical sciences"

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Journal of Ethnic Foods
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{"fermented beverages" / "functional components" / "health benefits" / microflora / rice}

Abstract of research paper on Chemical sciences, author of scientific article — M. Ray, K. Ghosh, S.N. Singh, K. Chandra Mondal

Abstract Fermented foods share an integral part of age-old wisdom from ancient Indian civilization. Over the generations, this pioneering practice of food fermentation has expanded and improved to preserve and fortify the available food resources, particularly to meet the hidden hunger. India, being the second largest producer of rice, has a great history of traditional rice-based fermented foods with different tastes and textures linked with cultural diversity and mostly prepared by rural women following village art techniques. Some of them have been scientifically investigated and it has been revealed that microflora in natural or starter culture plays imperative roles to bio-embolden the rice with varieties of health promoting macronutrients and micronutrients, phytochemicals, and other functional components during fermentation. In this review, some explorative information on traditional rice-based foods and beverages has been assembled to illustrate the global interest in Indian food heritage and their functional aspects. The review also deals with the preparation of raw materials, traditional processing, composition, and ethno-medicinal importance of each food to encourage entrepreneurs to develop large-scale production to meet the growing market demand of functional foods.

Academic research paper on topic "Folk to functional: An explorative overview of rice-based fermented foods and beverages in India"

Accepted Manuscript

Mousumi Ray, Kuntal Ghosh, Som nath Singh, Dr. Keshab chandra Mondal

Folk to Functional: An Explorative Overview of Rice-Based Fermented Foods and Beverages in India

S2352-6181(16)00010-X 10.1016/j.jef.2016.02.002

Reference: JEF 48

To appear in: Journal of Ethnic Foods

Please cite this article as: Ray M, Ghosh K, Singh Sn, Mondal Kc, Folk to Functional: An Explorative Overview of Rice-Based Fermented Foods and Beverages in India, Journal of Ethnic Foods (2016), doi: 10.1016/j.jef.2016.02.002.

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Folk to Functional: An Explorative Overview of Rice-Based Fermented Foods and Beverages in India


department of Microbiology, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore- 721102, West Bengal, India

Division of Nutrition, Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Delhi- 110054, India

Corresponding author:

Dr. Keshab Chandra Mondal

Department of Microbiology, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore- 721102, West Bengal, India Tel: 03222-276554 (ext.477), Fax: 03222-275329, e-mail:


Fermented foods share an integral part of age-old wisdom from ancient Indian civilization. Over the generations, this pioneering practice of food fermentation has expanded and improved to preserve and fortify the available food resources, particularly to meet the hidden hunger. India, being the second largest producer of rice, has a great saga of traditional rice-based fermented foods with different tastes and textures linked with cultural diversity and mostly prepared by rural women following village art techniques. Some of them have been scientifically investigated and it has been revealed that microflora in natural or starter culture plays imperative roles to bio-embolden the rice with varieties of health-promoting macro- and micro-nutrients, phytochemicals, and other functional components during fermentation. In this review, some explorative information of traditional rice-based foods and beverages has been assembled to draw the global interest on Indian food heritage and their functional aspects. The review also deals with the preparation of raw materials, traditional processing, composition, and ethno-medicinal importance of each food to encourage entrepreneurs for large-scale production to meet the growing market demand of functional foods.

Key words: Fermented beverages, rice, microflora, functional components, health benefits INTRODUCTION

On the Indian subcontinent, fermented foods and beverages are an integral part of cultural heritage on even today. These have been developed throughout the history of human civilization for sustained nutrition and food preservation [1,2]. Fermentation leads to changes in appearance of food characterized by quite different properties and uses. Ancient people adopted different preservation methods to store excess foods of plant and animal origin, particularly those which are seasonal and have short life span (perishable). On this basis, it is presumed that fermented foods probably originated during 7000-8000 BC in the areas of Indus Valley [3]. It is evident from the annals of the Harappan civilization (Vedic period)

that people used different clay pots for preparing fermented foods and drinks [4]. Fermented milk products, alcoholic beverages from fruits and cereal grains, and leavened breads were very popular among the early civilization in the Middle East and in the Indus Valley and later among the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. The health-beneficial effects of fermented foods were first advocated as far back as 76 AD by the Roman historian Pliny, who mentioned the use of fermented milks for treating gastrointestinal infections. In the late 1700s, Lavoisier revealed the chemical basis of sugar transformation. Around 1850, the great French chemist, Pasteur discovered the biological basis of fermentation and identified the particular role of microbes that initiate and continue the fermentation process [5]. In the early 1900s Tissier, French pediatrician, proposed that bifidobacteria in food could be effective in preventing infections in infants [6]. This health-beneficial concept of fermented foods has matured through extensive scientific interventions, particularly over the past two decades, thereby increasing consumer awareness of the functional basis for ingesting such traditional foods in relation to health promotion and disease prevention [7 - 10].

Currently, more than 5000 different fermented foods are consumed by mankind worldwide, many of which are ethnic and produced in small quantities to meet the needs of groups in a particular region. Traditional fermented foods are defined as foods produced by native people using their ancestral knowledge and artisanal techniques from locally available raw materials of plant or animal sources. These are prepared either naturally or by adding starter culture(s) containing functional microorganisms which modify the substrates biochemically and organoleptically into edible products that are culturally and socially acceptable to consumers [11]. The ethnic food fermentation process was modified continuously through the propagation of traditional knowledge and experiences from one generation to the next, particularly keeping in mind improved sensory qualities and safety. The idea of fermented food preparation also expanded with diverse locally available substrates including grains, vegetables, milk,

fish, and meat products [12]. The rural folk are found to prefer the fermented foods over the unfermented because of their pleasant taste, texture, and color [13].

Traditional fermented food preparation is one of the oldest biotechnological processes in all around the world in which microorganisms play a crucial role in improvement of sensory characteristics, bio-enrichment, health promoting attributes and preservation of foods. Fermentation helps to reduce non-digestible carbohydrates, enriches the pool of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, and increases the overall quality, digestibility, taste and aroma of the food [14,15].This extraordinary benefit of fermented food is helpful to maintain the healthy composition of intestinal microbiota that essential for protection from various diseases and to maintain the physiological homeostasis and gut-brain relationship of the host. From this point of view, fermented food is designated as 'naturally fortified functional food'. The term 'functional food' was first introduced in Japan in the mid-1970s. It refers to processed foods containing physiologically active ingredients that aid specific bodily functions beyond basic nutrition [16,17]. A recently proposed working definition of functional food is: 'food that can be satisfactorily demonstrated to affect beneficially one or more target functions in the body, beyond additional nutritional effect, in a way relevant to an improved state of health and wellbeing and/ or reduction of risk of disease' [18,19].

Global interest in cereal-based fermented products is increasing due to low fat /cholesterol, high minerals, dietary fibers and phytochemicals content [15]. Beyond the basic nutrients, cereal based fermented food confers several health promoting attributes as it contains edible beneficial microbes, also called probiotics; fermentable sugars (of microbial and food origin, i.e. prebiotics), and digestive aids such as a group of microbe-derived hydrolytic enzymes, etc.. Besides, multi-strain or multispecies probiotic may provide greater beneficial effects than monostrain cultures. The synergistic action of these exogenous microbiota create a sociable environment for commensals (native colonizing organisms), prevent the growth of otherwise enteropathogens, beneficial for digestion and absorption, produced

different metabolites including short chain fatty acid (SCFA), especially butyrate, which have a positive effect on epithelial lining of the GI tract, enhance mucosal cell differentiation and this may also promote the immune barrier function of the epithelium, and on peristalsis, which improves transit [20,21]. Cereal components are the natural growth media/carriers for probiotics and have buffering capacity to protect the organisms in the harsh environment of the intestine [22]. Considering these beneficial effects, the grain-based fermented foods are now become more popular than conventional dairy-based products particularly in Japan and Europe [23]. The market of non-dairy probiotic beverage is expanding with a projected annual growth rate of 15% (between 2013 and 2015) and predicting the market will reach €65 billion by the year 2016 and on this, dairy-based produce account for approximately43% of the market [24].

The art of preparation of different types of dishes from fermented rice or rice-mixed cereal/pulse products is well known practice in India. These foods are important components of the diet as staples, adjuncts to staples, condiments, and beverages. In India, diversity of rice-based traditional fermented foods is related to diversity of ethnicity in each community [25,26]. Rice-containing foods are fermented by a mixed culture of microorganisms by spontaneous fermentation and, in the case of beverages, by adding a starter culture. These are prepared in the households or in cottage industries using relatively simple techniques and equipment [26]. In the recent past, there were no verified data on the nutritional, technical, and quality control implications of indigenous rice-based fermented food products in India, the second most populated rice production country in the world. However, in the last 20 years, a number of books and articles dealing with indigenous rice-based fermented beverages and foods have been published. In this context, this review focuses on the unexplored mystery of microbial interplay in rice-based indigenous fermented foods and beverages, and emphasizes the importance of the bioactive functional biomolecules. This will offer ample scope for researching and protecting the traditional knowledge through intellectual property right (IPR) and will be helpful for commercialization of these indigenous food products [27].


The term fermentation is derived from the Latin word fermentum which stands for boiling. It may be defined as any process for the formation of a product by the mass culturing of microorganisms [28]. Fermented food preparation, as mentioned in the literary texts, is more than 3000 years old in India [29]. The Rgveda (1500 BC) shows that fermentation technology took its first step in connection with the preparation of Soma juice (alcoholic beverage). There is also another drink, known as Sura (wine/beer), prepared by fermentation of boiled rice/barley [13]. It is known from different sources that during the Post-Vedic Period (600BC to 100CE) many beverages like Medaka (spiced rice beer), Prasanna (spiced barley or wheat beer), Asava (sugarcane beer), and so on, were some of the most popular drinks. Some new recipes for fermentation were also formulated. One such recipe was described in Rasopanisat (RP. XV 251-253). The recipe was: "The best ones among the 5 classes of bulbous plants with latex are pounded along with the grains of rice of Kodrava (Paspalnscrobiculatum), and products of plant madana (emetic nut) are pasted with whey from water buffalo or cow milk and kept in a closed bowl. The closed vessel is then placed in the sun. The acidic residue thus obtained is kinva (yeast)". Another recipe was Sukta: a mixture of treacle, honey, fermented rice, water, and whey. This mixture was placed in an earthen pot and the pot then placed on heaps of paddy for 3 nights in the summer season. Another recipe was also known as Kanjika: boiled millet or barley was used as a base material. Different plants were added into the fermented medium. It could also be prepared by using boiled rice [30].

Native people possessed an immense knowledge on the environment and suitability of plant and animal products as edible and wholesome foods. They understood the functioning of the ecosystem and techniques of using and managing plants and animals [31]. Indigenous food fermentation is an efficient approach for preparation and preservation of food by unknowingly using microorganisms [13,25]. During fermentation, people used very simple and common utensils and locally available ingredients. According to the nature of common plant and animal resources, indigenous fermented foods can be categorized as

cereal-and / or pulse-based, vegetables, beverages, wine, milk, and fish- and meat-based products [32]. They are very popular due to their specific organoleptic properties, caloric value, health benefits, and extended shelf- life. Apart from own composition, people used the fermentation process for the production of color/ dye, ingredients as fish attractants, animal feed, and so on [11,13].

Even today, in India, fermented foods and beverages are taken by people of both of low and high income groups [21]. The traditional process of preparation is still followed by the specific tribes and castes in different provinces. Some fermented food items are popular as delicious daily dish and propagated even in abroad. The Figure 1 depicts a unified geographical map of India along with region specific rice-based fermented food and beverage diversity. It is seen that there are four fermented foods hotspots - South India, Himalayan India, East India and North-East India.


Rice is known as the grain of life, and is synonymous with food for every Indian [33]. It is the staple food for two thirds of the Indian population [34]. It is one of the most important food crops in term of area, production and consumer preference. India is the second largest producer and consumer of rice in the world [35]. Rice production (around 4000 varieties) crossed the mark of 100 million MTnes in 2011-12 accounting for 22.81% of global production in that year. The Indians derives 80% of their energy needs from rice, which contains 80% carbohydrates, 7-8% protein, 3% fat, and 3% fiber. The mineral content, starch quality, glycemic index, and antioxidant activity has made rice unique among cereals. Positive qualities of high digestibility of starch, high biological value of amino acids, high content of fatty acids and selenium, and anti-hypertension effect have been confirmed scientifically. Rice can, therefore, be described now as a functional food [36,37]. In India, rice has enjoyed a unique status since ancient times because of its nutritional but also medicinal values. Ancient Indian texts and folklore contain references to the special properties of rice. The great sage, Parashara, in the Sanskrit text Krishi-Parashara aptly

wrote in praise of this food grain, "Rice is vitality, rice is vigor too, and rice indeed is the means of fulfillment of all ends in life. All Gods, demons and human beings subsist on rice". Ancient Ayurvedic treatises laud Raktashali red rice as a nutritive food and medicine. The medicinal value of other rice varieties such as Sashtika, Sali, and parched rice have been documented in the Charaka Samhita (700 BC) and the Susruta Samhita (400 BC), for the treatment of various ailments [38].

Rice is also used in different forms such as flour, paste, laja (parched rice), boiled, flattened, fried rice, and dried, and as sprouted seedlings [39]. Due to most available and common food resource, in the Indian subcontinent, preparation of different types of fermented foods and beverages from rice is a regular practice since time immemorial [40]. The fermented rice-based products play an integral role in social, rituals, and festivals for almost all Indians [29].Fermentation enriches the rice, supplements it with different essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, probiotic organisms and degrades anti-nutrients (phytic acid, tannins and polyphenols). Thus, its nutrition, energy contents, and therapeutic potentialities are increased [39].


Starch-containing cereal based media favor the growth of ubiquitous groups of microbes [41]. These are mainly derived from nature (natural or spontaneous) or from the addition of a starter culture (controlled fermentation by mono-culture or multi-culture) [26,42-44].These microbes secrete different metabolites and enzymes which further encourage their own growth, prevent the growth of pathogens and, above all, add nutritive and therapeutic potentialities. Among them the most common microorganisms are lactic acid bacteria (LAB), lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, yeasts, and molds [45].

LAB are so named for their production of lactic acid during the fermentation of carbohydrates. LAB do not form a systematically defined group based on evolutionary relationships, they rather belong to a functional group used by food microbiologists. They are harmless and utilized for both good food quality and human welfare [45,46]. As a matter of fact, they constitute a group of acid-tolerant (pH 5.0),

Gram-positive bacteria with characteristics of being catalase-negative, non-motile, non-respiring, and non-spore-forming cocci or rods. The following genera are considered to be LAB, Aerococcus, Cornebacterium, Enterococcus, Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, Oenococcus, Pediococcus, Streptococcus, Tetragenococcus, Vagococcus, and Weissella [47]. LAB fermentation in cereal-containing foods provides a natural way to concentrate and enhance nutrients (minerals, vitamins, and essential amino acid synthesis) [48], to destroy undesirable components (antinutrient, mycotoxin, and other endotoxins), to enrich with therapeutic components (phenolics, maltooligomers, prebiotics, probiotics, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and other bioactive substances), to modify sensory qualities (taste, aroma, texture, consistency, and appearance) of the food [43]. Additionally, these makes the food preparation easy (reduced cooking times and lower energy consumption), facilitate preservation from the detrimental effects of spoilage and pathogenic organisms, and enhance product safety [49].

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium constitutes maximum number of lactic acid producing bacteria which are commonly associated with the food fermentation processes. They are non-spore forming, Gram positive rods, and grow in facultative anaerobic to micro-aerophilic conditions. Genomes of the lactobacilli ranges between 1.23Mb (Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis) and 4.91Mb (Lactobacillusparakefiri) with 31.93 to 57.02% GC content comprising only 73 genes. The lactic acid bacteria group yields a wide range of glycoside hydrolase enzymes which modify host-indigestible plant-derived poly- and oligosaccharide complexes (dietary fibers, glycans, oligosaccharides, resistant starch, cellulose, hemicellulose, xylan, arabinofuran, arabinogalactan, pectins, and gums). They are also able to synthesize antimicrobial substances, amino acids (glutamic and aspartic acids), vitamins, and many other bioactive metabolites [50]. Numerous research groups have established the health benefits of lactic acid bacteria like preventing diarrhea, favoring the lodging of health-beneficial bacteria in the gut, colon regularity, caring of lactose intolerance, reduction in cholesterol, immune-stimulatory effects, and even cancer prevention [51,52].

Several groups of filamentous fungi and yeast are also commonly associated with rice-based fermented foods. The yeasts belonging mainly to the genera Saccharomyces, Candida, Hansenula, Saccharomycopsis, and molds like Aspergillus, Rhizopus, Mucor, and Penicillium participate in this sort of fermentation [15,21]. These strains help with the degradation of starch into maltose and glucose by producing extracellular amylolytic enzymes (a-amylase and glucoamylase). They also produce carbon dioxide and play a significant role in leavening [52,45]. Yeasts contribute not only to gas production, resulting in good texture, but also to sensory qualities like taste and aroma by producing a group of compounds such as glycosides, esters, fusel alcohols, acids and other compounds. The higher activity of amylases, proteolytic enzymes, levels of B vitamins, and free amino acids attained in yeast-enriched fermentation suggests that yeast-enriched food develops positive nitrogen balance. Ethanol is another imperative metabolite of yeast. It serves as a source of calories and prevents the growth of disease- or toxin-producing microorganisms in food products [54].


Biochemically, 4 different types of fermentation processes are known to take place, namely, alcoholic, lactic acid, acetic acid, and alkali fermentation. Alcoholic fermentation results in the production of ethanol by yeast (as in wine and beer). Lactic acid fermentation (homo-fermentative or hetero-fermentative) is mainly carried out by lactic acid-producing bacteria (LAB). Under excess aeration, Acetobacter produces acetic acid from alcohol. Alkali fermentation occurs in the case of fish and seeds, protein-rich food constituents [25,30].

Rice-based fermentation involves either acidic or alcoholic fermentation or both consecutively. In the beginning, the process includes pre-treatment of rice grains, such as soaking, grinding, or boiling, which generally relax the compact structure of starch and simultaneously dilutes the contents of antinutrient components. The extended soaking in some food preparations initiates the germination process by activating various hydrolytic enzymes, which relax the starch compactness by exo- and endo-

cleaving pathways. For the preparation of rice batter (mixed with pulses), microbial fermentation leads to the formation of carbon di-oxide and other gases inside the batter and makes the food spongy. The degree of fermentation depends on time, which again determines food taste, texture, appearance, aroma and so on [20,55,56].

Rice beer preparation involves a three-step non-synchronized fermentation process. Initially, amylolytic molds are grown, which contribute to the saccharification and liquefaction of rice [55,56]. It appears that starch is first split into limit dextrins by the action of a-amylase, and later by the action of glucoamylase these fragmented oligosaccharides are hydrolyzed into glucose. Thereby, rice is decomposed and creates an anaerobic environment. This condition favours the growth of LAB and Bifidobacterium, and apart from lactic and acetic acid they also produce different hydrolytic enzymes (catalyzed both nutrients and antinutrients) and various metabolites. Later, alcohol-producing yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is grown, which enrich the ferment with various vitamins, amino acids, etc., and aids specific flavour and aroma [56]. During beverage fermentation, synchronized participation of different group of symbiotic aerobes and anaerobes that floats or embedded within the matrix of cereal are completely decomposed it into simpler form for rapid assimilation through GI tract and favours maximum energy extraction. Thus, fermented beverages confer more health promoting attributes than solid / semi-solid fermented foods.


Traditional rice-based fermented foods

Rice and other cereals are mainly used for preparation of traditional fermented dishes. However, the proportions and preparation process for all these fermented foods vary place to place [15,55,56]. The basic process starts with batter preparation, which is a thick to semi-solid paste of raw ingredients mixed with other supplements. This is fermented either naturally or by starter for varied time periods. Microbial

fermentation alters the quality of batter, improves nutrients pool, and brings the food-specific changes [57, 58, 59]. The fermented batter is then processed as per different food preparations like steaming, frying or baking. Whereas, some food items are consumed directly after the fermentation. The entire process is unique and followed dreamily to give the flavor, aroma, texture and taste. The final consumption of fermented foods is associated with side dishes like chutneys, curries, snacks, raw vegetables, etc [60]. The information like raw materials, associated microbes, preparation process, nutritional details and health impacts of some popular and indicative rice-based fermented foods have been described below as well as in Table 1. Idli

The savory cake idli is one of the most widely acceptable cereal-pulse based naturally fermented foods on the Indian subcontinent, particularly in South India [15]. This rice cake is a low-caloric starchy and nutritious foodstuff consumed mostly as a breakfast item. The ingredients are cereal rice (Oryza sativum) and the legume black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo). Washed polished rice and black gram dhal are soaked separately in drinking water for overnight and ground. Slurries of rice and black gram dhal are mixed to form a thick batter. The batter is kept overnight at room temperature for fermentation. Then, the fermented batter is placed into a concaved idli pan for steaming, finally yielding the savoury spongy cake idli [45].

The batter formation is an acidic fermentation process mediated by a mixed culture of lactic acid bacteria, the major groups of which are Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Lactobacillus fermenti, Lactobacillus lactis, and Streptococcus faecalis. Other organisms are Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Pediococcus cerevisiae, Debaromyces hansenii, Hansenula anomala, Torulopsis candida, and Trichosporon beigelii [45,61,62].

Idli contains approximately 3.4% protein, 20.3% carbohydrate, 70% moisture, 1% verbacose, 0.2% stachyose and raffinose. Fermentation increases level of amylase, protenase, total acids, batter

volume, soluble solids, essential amino acids (lysine, cystine and metheionine), non-protein nitrogen, soluble vitamins (folate, vitamin A, B1, B2 and B12) content, with reduction in antinutrientphytic acid [61,63].

Idli is generally regarded as anti-obesity and weight loosing diet. Useful to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and stroke. This is used as a dietary supplement to treat children suffering from protein calorie malnutrition and kwashiorkor. The micronutrients like iron, zinc, folate and calcium prevent anaemia and facilitate the oxygenation of blood and nourishment of the muscle and bone. The carbohydrate as well as dietary fibre content promotes healthy digestion and formation of bulky stool [15,62]. Dosa

Dosa is a crispy flat thin pancake which is most popular throughout India. It tastes like crunchy wraps with inside vegetable fillings and is consumed as breakfast, dinner or sometimes as snacks. This recipe is traditionally made with rice (Oryza sativa) and lentils (Phaseolus mungo). The raw ingredients are soaked and grinded separately with added water to get smooth consistency. The raw ingredients are soaked and grinded separately with added water to get smooth and consistent batter. The batter is allowed to ferment overnight at room temperature. The colloid fermented batter is spreaded in the form of a thin layer on a flat heated plate which is smeared with a little edible oil. Within a few minutes, a circular semisoft to crisp Dosa is formed [15].

Lactic acid bacteria like Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Streptococcus faecalis, Torulopsis candida, Lactobacillus fermentum, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus delbruckii, and Lactobacillus plantarum are predominant groups participate in dosa fermentation. Minor groups related to yeasts, belonging to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Debaryomyces hansenii, Trichosporon beigelli, Torulopsis sp. and Trichosporon pullulans [15,45].

Dosa fermentation increases in amount of total acids, total volume, total solids, non-protein nitrogen, free amino acids, amylase, proteinases, vitamins B1 and B2, folic acid, amino nitrogen, formation of diols, antimicrobial and antioxidant substances. Antinutrients are reduced and enhances the bio-accessibility of zinc and iron [64].

Dosa is considered as an appropriate vegan diet for individuals with wheat allergies or gluten intolerance. Low glycemic load and glycemic index of dosa helps to fight against pre and post-diabetic conditions. It offers adequate energy for prolonged physical endurance. Some people believes that dosa has medicinal property and can be used to increase fertility, weight of foetus, breast milk. It is also considered as a remedy for rheumatism and neural disorders [15, 64]. Dhokla

Dhokla is a soft, spongy and acid fermented cake very popular in Southern and Western India. It is generally consumed as a breakfast item. Rice (Oryza sativa) and Bengal gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo) are the main raw materials. Sometimes people add chopped leafy vegetables to make it more palatable. Initially, thick batter is prepared from the raw materials and allowed to ferment overnight at room temperature. The fermented batter is poured into the greased tray and placed in the steamer in open condition. The spongy formed cake with quite high water content is dhokla [29,45].

Yeasts like Torulopsis sp., Candida sp., Tpullulans are responsible for rise in the batter volume and sponginess. The dominant lactic acid bacteria present in dhokla are L. fermentum, L. mesenteroids, Pichia silvicola, streptococcus faecalis, etc [29].

Each serving of dhokla (213 g) contains 384 cal, 59 g of carbohydrate, 6.6 g of free sugars, 10.6 g of dietary fiber, 11.7 g of protein, 11.8 g of fat, 89 mg of sodium, 551 mg potassium, adequate amount of calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin A and C, and is free from cholesterol [54].

Dhokla has low glycemic index (34.96) and is very useful for diabetic patients. It helps to reduce blood cholesterol, body weight and protects from cardiovascular diseases [61,65].


It is a thick slightly crisp pancake consumed as palatable and pleasant breakfast or lunch which is popular mainly in South India. Traditionally the uttapam is prepared from rice and urad dahl (Vigna mungo) in the proportion of 3:1. Batter prepared from the soaked raw materials were fermented at room temperature for 5-6 h. The fermented batter is spreaded over buttery/greased pan into a round shape. Toppings like chopped vegetables, paneer, capsicum and onion are added over the flat batter and cooked in low flame [15].

The microbes associated with fermentation are lactic acid bacteria and yeast. Saraniya and Jeevaratnam [66] have isolated Lactobacillus pentosus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus plantarum sp. and Lactobacillus plantarum sp. from Uttapam batter. All organisms show probiotic characteristics as they survive in bile, gastric, and intestinal conditions; produce P-galactosidase, phytase, pectinase and bile salt hydrolase; inhibit the growth of pathogens, and are able to adhere on Caco-2 cell surface. Uttapam is a zero trans-fat fermented food having approximately 160 Cal per 50 g serving, 0.4 g of fat, 34 g carbohydrate, 3.0 g dietary fiber, 5.0 g of protein with source calcium, ferrous, vitamin A and C [15,66].

Being cholesterol-free food item, uttapam is a prescribed food for high sugar and cholesterol patients. It is easily digestible and can reduce body weight and prevent obesity [66]. Selroti

Selroti is very popular ethnic rice-based fermented product almost consumed with every meal by dwellers of hill areas in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Nepal and Bhutan. Traditionally preparation starts with the batter which is prepared using rice and wheat flour, sugar, butter or fresh cream and spices. It is kept for fermentation at room temperature for 3-4 h. After that, it is deeply fried into ring shape (golden brown in colour) yielding spongy (bread like) and pretzel like food item and served with potato curry, pickle and meat [31,45].

The microbes associated with selroti batter fermentation are lactic acid producing microbes like Leuconostoc mesenteroids, Enterococcus faecium, Pediococcus pentosaceus and Lactobacillus curvatus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces kluyveri, Debaryomyces hansenii, Pichia burtonii and Zygosaccharomyces rouxii [31,67].

Selroti is a gluten free and trans-fat free food item. An average serve of 260 g selroti gives approximately 694 Cal, 138.0 g carbohydrates, 8.4 g proteins, 14.8 g fat, 42.0 g sugars and 2.68 g dietary fibers. Minerals like sodium, potassium, iron, calcium and vitamin A and C are also present in selroti [31]. Selroti is generally offered for good health and a recommended diet for protecting dyslipidaemia and cardio-metabolic risks [67]. Babru

Babru is partially fermented rice-based food and is very popular among the people of Lahaul and Spiti regions in Himachal Pradesh. The sweet taste, flat, spongy and savory delicacy of babru is associated with the cultural traditions of people. Rice flour is the main raw material which is made into semi-solid paste by adding water (2:1) and kept at room temperature for 3-4 h for fermentation. Next, the fermented batter is cooked as flat pancake with edible oil until it becomes spongy [31]. The microbial compositions in the babru are mainly yeast and LAB, like Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Debaromycis sp., Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactococcus lactis, etc [31].

The nutritive value of babru has not been evaluated but it is supposed to be an easily digestible carbohydrate based delicious diet. Normally Saccharomyces cerevisiae improves aroma (flavor), digestibility and nutritive value of food. The edible LAB make food acidic and also show many therapeutic, nutritive and probiotic properties [31,45]. Ambeli

Ambeli is a rice (Oryza sativa) and ragi (Eleusine coracana) based fermented food preferred as breakfast meal by the people of Central India. For its preparation, ragi flour is made into thick slurry and allowed to

ferment at room temperature for 14 to 16 h. Then partially cooked rice is then mixed with it and cooked further. After cooling to room temperature, sour milk is added to prepare Ambeli. The microbes associated with the ambeli fermentation are Leuconostoc mesenteroids, Lactobacillus fermentum and Streptococcus faecalis [15].

Ambeli is a low calorie fermented food and it (approximately 250 ml) is having 115 Cal, total fat 1 g, sodium 60 mg, total carbohydrate 20 g and sugars 10 g. This is considered as an easily digestible protein rich food and suitable for infants as well as adults [15,45]. Adai and Vada

Adai and vada are traditional South Indian fermented dishes which are prepared using rice, lentils and other seasoning vegetables. The traditional process starts with the batter preparation using rice and lentils. After fermentation, the batter is fried with some edible oil in flattened donut shape. Sometimes the batter is mixed with spices like red chillis, fresh pepper corns, cumin, ginger, pieces, green chilies, fresh coriander leaves, coconut pieces, etc., to give a piquant flavor to adai and vada [15].

Fermentation is assisted by the predominant bacteria like Pediococcus sp., Streptococcus sp. and Leuconostoc sp. These are low calorie protein and iron rich foods. This have 197 Cal, 505 g fat, 20 mg sodium, 350 mg potassium, 39.6 g total carbohydrates, 6.5 g dietary fibers, 1.7 g sugars and 7.6 g proteins. It contains 2% vitamin C, 3% calcium and 14% iron. This is considered as healthy snack as it is rich with proteins, iron and dietary fibers. This is recommended for kids as well as women for the health benefits [59]. Sour Rice

Sour Rice is popularly known as Poita bhat in Assam, Panta bhat in Bengal and Pokhalo in Odisha and is generally consumed during lunch and breakfast [11,15]. The principal raw ingredients are rice and water. Sometimes dahi (Indian yogurt), salt, spices and leafy vegetables are also added to increase taste. The cooked rice is cooled down to room temperature and adequate water is added to it. This watery rice is

allowed to ferment overnight at room temperature. The fermented rice with water is consumed along with cooked vegetables/others stuffs [15].

The fermentation is associated with lactic acid bacteria like Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Pediococcus acidilactici, Streptococcus faecalis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Macrobacterium flavum and Sacchaeromyces sp. Fermentation process is known to increase the amounts of vitamin B complex, and vitamin K. About 100 g of sour rice contains 73.91 mg iron, 303 mg sodium, 839 mg potassium and 850 mg calcium [68].

Fermented sour rice is a high energy rich, body rehydrating food. It controls the bowel movement as well as fiber release in the stool, prevents constipation. The fermented rice restores healthy intestinal flora and can prevent gastrointestinal ailments like duodenal ulcer, infectious ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, candida infection, etc [68,69]. Sez

Sez is a popular rice-based festive food prepared by Bhotiyas and other communities in Himachal Pradesh. Traditionally, starter (balam) is used for sez preparation [13]. Balam is prepared with old starter, spices and different plant parts. Initially, starter is mixed with the cooked rice and kept in air sealed wooden or earthenware container in a dark and cool place. The anaerobic fermentation takes place for at least 24 h and semifermented rice is consumed as sez [40]. The fermentation process may involve the saccharolytic and ethanol producing microbes which are responsible for starch to alcohol bioconversion. This is served as snacks with some spicy chutneys [45]. Chitou / Appam

Both chitou and appam are rice-based traditional flat pan cake culinary and are popular in Odisha and Kerala states. In Odisha, chitou is a delicious festive dish, whereas appam is regular food item in Kerala. The varying proportions of parboiled rice and black gram (Vigna mungo) are used for the preparation of chitou and appam in varying seasons. Conventionally, parboiled rice and urad dahl paste are mixed to

prepare the batter which is fermented for overnight. The fermented batter is next mixed with sugar, grated coconut or other seasonings. The final mixture is poured into earthen mold, covered and fried in low heat to obtain traditional Chitou and Appam [68,70]. Both the chitou and appam fermentation are acidic in nature which is supposed to be due to lactic acid producing bacteria. The details of microbial composition in the batter have not been explored.

Chitou/Appam can give 138.8 Cal, 3.7 g total fat, 0.1 g unsaturated fatty acids, 31.7 mg sodium, 13.5 mg potassium, 23.2 g total carbohydrate, 1.1 g dietary fiber, 2.1 g protein, with vitamin A, B-complex, calcium, folate, iron, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine. This is a healthy and easy digestible, nutritionally enriched food [68]. Anarshe

Anarshe is a gluten-colloid type fermented food and traditionally used by the people of Sikkim and Himalayan India. The golden coloured crumbled snacks, anarshe, is generally used during Diwali festivals and Maharashtrian faral. The traditional process of anarshe preparation starts with cooked polish rice which is used for dough preparation with addition of starter, marchaa. The dough is allowed to ferment in airtight condition at room temperature for 3-4 days. Afterwards the ripened dough is made into medium thick shaped puri and deeply fried into edible oil [15]. The lactic acid bacteria and yeasts like Hansenula anomala and Mucor rouxianus are the predominant microbes participate in the fermentation of dough [15].

Fermented Rice Cake (Pitha)

The people in the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar prepare a variety rice cakes, locally called as pitha, specially prepared during festivals and rituals. These foods are prepared and consumed by all the communities irrespective of caste and creed due to nutritional value, pungent taste, flavor and aroma. These foods are produced from the fermented rice and rice-legume batters, which are shaped and optionally filled with sweet or savory ingredients. For this preparation, rice is the main

ingredient, which is soaked in water for 8 to 12 h, air dried and then grinded in to fine flour with the help of traditional grinder. Sometimes, boiled rice are also added to make the pitha [70]. All these foods are delicious and easily digestible; and also suitable for ailing persons, pre- or post-natal women and children. These pithas are unknown to the nutritionists and entrepreneurs due to lack of their scientific exploration (Table 2).


This is a dosa like round shaped flattened pan cake generally prepared with rice (Oryza sativa) and Black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo). The coat free black gram and rice flour batter are kept for 10-12 h for fermentation and then fried over a hot greased pan. This has one day shelf life and usually served hot. The microbes participate in the fermentation process is unknown [70]. Enduri Pitha

Enduri pitha is the steamed flavor cake which is prepared from rice and black gram dhal. For this preparation, fermented batter of black gram and rice flour are filled in to folded leaves of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) and then cooked over steam. It has two days shelf life and Lactobacillus fermentum is known to assist for fermentation. This helps in strengthening the immune system, fighting against worms and different infections which are common in winter season [70]. Munha Pitha

Munha pitha is a spongy fermented cake which is prepared using parboiled rice powder and black gram dhal. They batter is prepared using these flour and subjected to brief fermentation. The adequate amount of batter is placed on a piece of cloth which is tied over the mouth of a half water filled earthen pot, and then steamed until it loses its stickiness. It has the shelf life of one to two days. It is a delicious and stomach filling food [70]. Chhuchipatra Pitha

This is a square shaped, sweet taste, pizza like fermented pitha. Generally, batter is prepared using parboiled rice and black gram dhal and fermented with the addition of inoculum curd. As like Chakuli, the batter is half-fried as a thin smear using a spatula over a hot greased pan. Then coconut, curd, cheese and sugar are placed in the centre position and then folded in a square shape to fry suitably. It has two days shelf life and is a nutritious, palatable and delicious item [70]. Podo Pitha

This fermented cake is appeared with slightly burnt outer cover with white spongy soft inside. Parboiled rice and black gram dhal are used for the batter preparation and fermented briefly (2 to 4 h). The fermented batter is mixed with different sweeteners and coconut, then wrapped with banana (Musa paradisiaca L.) or sal (Shorea robusta) leaves and roasted in an oven or earthen oven with help of charcoal to bake in low but continuous heat for 5-10 h. The low water content pitha have two to three days shelf life and is energy rich cake containing abundant carbohydrate, free sugars and fibres [70].

Ethnic rice-based fermented beverages

Rice-based beverage or rice beer is a rare type of food product only found in few tropical areas of Asia-Pacific countries in contrast to alcoholic beer from barley malt in Western countries. Traditional beverages having different appearances vary from crystal-clear products to turbid liquid or thick gruels and pastes. Air dried cooked rice powder is the principal substrate and traditional starter tablet / dust is used for preparation of different varieties of beverages [31]. The use of selective plant parts for preparation of starter is a unique ancient culture in Indian subcontinent [26]. A diverse groups of microbiota from plant origin as endophytic organism are the functional microbes for mixed culture and multi-stage fermentation of rice, which is not possible by using old ferments. Apart from this, herbal products are good sources of therapeutic and preservative metabolites that add extra flavor to the rice-based fermented products [13]. A comprehensive list of fermented beverage popular in Indian subcontinent is depicted in Table 3. The process of rice fermentation involves a two - stage fermentation;

solid state fermentation wherein molds grow on raw material and which get saccharified and gelatinized; thereafter, semi-liquid substrate favors the growth of lactic acid bacteria and alcohol producing yeast. The association of different groups of microbes and their relative concentrations are very essential for development of acceptable sensory quality of a traditionally fermented food [37,55]. The final fermented undistilled beverages are consumed directly that usually contain enormous amounts of health-beneficial components, probiotics and little quantity of alcohol [71]. Haria

Haria is prepared using boiled scorched rice is mixed with Bakhar (1:100) and transferred to an earthen pot and kept in dark room for 3-5 days for fermentation. Diluted with water and sieved to get the Haria. This is known to protect from gastrointestinal ailments like dysentery, diarrhoea, amebiosis, acidity, vomiting. It exert significant level of antioxidant activity [26,55,56]. Apong

Apong is prepared using a mixture of ash of paddy husk and straws, cooked glutinous rice and traditional starter, epop (1:30) and transferred into earthen pot. Allowed to ferment for 20 days at 30-35°C. The ferment is filtered to get clear brownish filtrate apong. It is nutritious, energy-rich refreshing drink having antimicrobial, antioxidant and other age preventing effects. Apong is also helpful in preventing the formation of kidney stones [8,72]. Jou

Jou preparation is started by mixing the air dried cooked rice with starter amao (1 cake per 1 kg of rice) along with 3-4 pieces of chilli and charcoal, then transferred to earthen pot. Fermentation continues for 35 days. The ferment is diluted and filtered for consumption. Boro tribe consumes this as refreshing drink and has a significant role in their socio-cultural events. Jou is a popular refreshing drink which keeps body relaxed and is known to prevent jaundice and urinary disorders [8]. Judima

The fermented beverage judima is prepared through mixing the starter powder humao with air dried boiled rice (1:100) and left to ferment at room temperature. After 3-4 days of fermentation, the mixture is transferred to khulu (a triangle shaped bamboo cone) and the pale to dark yellow coloured leachate judima is collected. It has antiinflammatory, antiallergic, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, hepatoprotective, hypolimidemic, neuroprotective, hypotensive, antiaging and antidiabetic potentialities [73,74]. Zutho

For zutho preparation, cooled rice porridge is mixed with grist and poured into earthen jar. The mixture is allowed to ferment for 2 -3 days. After fermentation, the zutho is formed and drank directly. This is known to boost the immune system, lowering of blood insulin level, prevention of loss of appetite, lowering bad cholesterol, assisting in healing wound and prevention of infection [8,75]. Bhaati Jaanr

Starter powder marcha (2%) is mixed with cooked air dried glutinous rice and kept in a vessel at room temperature for 2-8 days. A thick paste is made by stirring the ferments and consumed directly as bhatti jaanr. It is consumed as a staple food or mild alcoholic sweet taste beverage. It is recommended for ailing persons and post-natal women to regain their physical strength [76]. Rice Jann

Rice Jann is a popular fermented rice beverage in the cold high altitude area. For preparation, starter balam is mixed with cooled boiled rice (1:125) and stored in an airtight earthen pot for 6-10 months at room temperature. The fermented jann is then diluted, filtered and consumed. This is considered as very energy rich refreshing drink and known to provide protection against cold [40]. FUNCTIONAL METABOLITES IN FOLKLORIC RICE-BASED FERMENTED FOODS According to Roberfroid [77], a food product can be made functional by (a) eliminating a component known to produce a deleterious effect when consumed (an allergenic protein, lactose, phenylalanine); (b)

by increasing the concentration of a component naturally present in food to a point at which it will induce predicted effects (fortification with a micronutrients); (c) increasing the concentration of a nutritive component to a level known to produce beneficial effects; (d) adding a component that is not normally present in most food and is not necessarily a macronutrient or micronutrients, but for which beneficial effects have been shown (non-vitamin antioxidants or prebiotic fructans); (e) replacing a component, usually a macronutrient, whose intake is usually cause of deleterious effects; or (f) increasing bioavailability or stability of a component known to produce a functional effect or to alleviate the disease risk potential of the food. Being the largest choice of food ingredient globally, rice has been explored to contain over 5000 small metabolites [78]. The processing of rice into various edible food items could change the profile of metabolites. During milling particularly, the reduction of antioxidant compounds was observed 70 to 87% from the red rice and about 50% from the white rice. Milling also reduced the level of tocols, y-oryzanols, ferulic and sinapic acids [79]. In a separate study, over 3000 small metabolite only have been detected after the cooking of rice [80]. There are large number of evidences indicated the bio-enrichment of rice with different reactive metabolites occur during fermentation. Considering this type of scattered evidences, scientific link or correlation is very essential to focus on the specific metabolic pathway. Metabolomics is a cutting edge comprehensive analytical platform for low-molecular-weight compounds in various biological samples; it can provide a high throughput and sensitive approach to assess the outcome of different metabolites in the food and beverages. The technique can be a potent tool to predict the dynamics and inter conversion of rice metabolome during fermentation. Thus, a huge scope is much awaiting for the incorporation of systems biological approach to reveal the nutritionally important rice metabolites improves in various rice-based fermented foods and beverages.

The changes of metabolites composition in the final rice-based fermented product is related with the participating microbiota and nature of fermentation [55]. Rural folk unknowingly used microbes in

primitive ways for the preparation of different types of food, which enriched with unexplored metabolites, but these serve as major source of energy, nutrients and health-beneficial components. Most of these metabolites exert various health impacts, demonstrate protective activities over human diseases and also manifest beneficial effects on the immune system [81]. For that reasons, tribal gurus (native physicians) prescribe these to cure different degenerative and infectious diseases. After fermentation, rice become enrich with various metabolites, some notable examples like phenolics (mono- and polyphenols), flavons (mono-C-glycosides, malonylated O-hexosides, O-glycosides), vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols), phytosterols, linolenic acid, anthocyanins, proantho cyanidins, y-oryzanol, etc [82]. The bioavailability of phenolics in rice is related with the increase in efficiency of donating hydrogen atoms to reactive oxygen radicals, which is a mechanism of anticancer activity. For example, rice bran fermented with Saccharomyces boulardii has the potentiality to reduce the growth of human B lymphomas. Its lipid-soluble metabolites like tocopherol and tocotrienols are known to induce anti-inflammatory cell signaling process [83,84]. However, the reduction of several detrimental metabolites like phytic acid, polyphenols and trypsin inhibitor, etc. are related to its digestibility improvement [85]. Phutthaphadoong et al. [86] noticed that the fermented brown rice and rice bran has gainedsome chemo-preventive potentialities as it can suppress the carcinogenesis of the colon, liver, stomach, bladder and esophagus. Fermentation of germinated rice with probiotic organisms makes it healthy food with natural fibers, y-aminobutyric acid and inositol hexaphosphate [63]. The nutrient and biochemical basis of a local rice beer, called haria, has extensively studied by this author group [26,55,56]. This beverage is energy rich and exerts many health-beneficial impacts. During fermentation it accumulates different maltooligosaccharides (G5-G2), like maltotetrose (G4, 20.1 mg/g), maltotriose (G3, 28.1 mg/g) and maltose (G2). These are low calorigenic, inhibit the growth of intestinal pathogens and are very nutritious for infant and aging people [55]. A number of pyranose derivatives like 2,3,4,5-tetra-O-acetyl-1-deoxy-b-D-glucopyranose; b-D-manopyranosepentaacetate; b-D-glactopyranosepentaacetate; 1,2,3,6-tetra-O-acetyl-4-O-formyl-D-

glucopyranose are also accumulated, which have profound immune-stimulatory, antioxidant and antimutagenic activities. Besides a number of oligosaccharides, phenolics and flavonoids in the rice beer shows significant free radical scavenging activities, which can potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other degenerative diseases [55,56]. CONCLUSION

Malnutrition and poor health are the major burdens in the developing as well as under developed countries. Though India is the major producer of cereals, the raw cereal based foods are not enough to combat against health related issues as these have some inherent nutritive limitations, particularly the swelling of their starch content upon cooking, the limited quantity of essential amino acids, and the limited bioavailability of mineral content (5-15%) due to presence of phytic acid and other antinutritional factors. The fermented rice-based food formulation may be the God's gift as this improves the overall nutritive capacity and has an added advantage of physiological functions. The traditional co-fermentation of rice with other cereals, leguminous seeds or herbs can further improve the amino acids and mineral profiles, and therapeutic potentialities on account of complementary actions. Further, the wet processing of cereals with mixed culture fermentable organism (lactic acid bacteria and yeast) improves fortification (minerals and nutrients), energy density and dephytinization. Considering these indigenous practices, M. J. Rob Nout reviewed about 'Rich nutrition from the poorest - Cereal fermentations in Africa and Asia' [21]. India is the rich home of diverse fermented foods but the most of these food practices are regional and mostly conserved within a specific community. The large diversity of Indian rice-based foods and beverages has the potentiality of being enriched resources for functional food development [19,29,87]. The proper scientific intervention of present folkloric rice-based foods and beverages can explore the gastronomic portrait of novel and bioactive nutraceuticals, therapeutic probiotics, healthy metabolites and peptides, thereby, these will be exploited as functional and healthy food for the world community. The standardization of process parameters and adaptation of newer technologies for fermentation of rice by

mixing with other cereals considering the acceptability by the end users are also very essential to improve individual nutritional status as well as community health.


The authors have no conflict of interest.


The authors are grateful to the Science for Equity Empowerment and Development (SEED), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India for financial assistance (SEED/TSP/CODER/005/2012).The authors are also thankful to Nandadulal Bhattacharyya, Principal, Vidyasagar Institute of Health (VIH), West Bengal, India for the meticulous checking of the review.


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Table 1 Microbial profile associated with different rice based fermented foods and raw ingredients.

Fermented food Raw materials Microorganisms involved References

Idli Rice (Oryza sativum) and black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo) (4:1) L. mesenteroides, L. delbrueckii, L. fermenti, L. lactis, S. faecalis, S. cerevisiae, P. cerevisiae, D. hansenii, H. anomala, T. Candida, T. beigelii 15,45,61-63

Dosa Rice (Oryza sativum) and black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo) (2:1) L. mesenteroides, S. faecalis, T. candida, L. fermentum, B. amyloliquefaciens, L. lactis, L. delbruckii, and L. plantarum, S. cerevisiae, D. hansenii, T. beigelli, Torulopsis sp. and T. pullulans 15,45,64

Dhokla Rice (Oryza sativum) and black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo) (4:1) Torulopsis sp., Candidasp., T. pullulans, L. fermentum, L. mesenteroids, P. silvicola, S. faecalis 29,45,54,61,65

Uttapam Rice (Oryza sativum) and urad dahl (Vigna mungo) (3:1) L. pentosus andL. plantarum 15,66

Selroti Rice (Oryza sativum) and wheat flour (Triticum aestivum) (3:1) Lactic acid bacteria like L. mesenteroids, E. faecium, P. pentosaceusand L. curvatus, S. cerevisiae, S. kluyveri, D. hansenii, P. burtoniiand Z. rouxii 31,45,67

Babru Rice flour (Oryza sativum) S. cerevisiae, Debaromycis sp., L. plantarum, L. lactis, Gram positive bacillus, etc 31,45

Ambeli Rice (Oryza sativum) and ragi (Eleusinecoracana) L. mesenteroids, L. fermentumand S. faecalis 15,45

Adai and Vada Rice (Oryza sativum), lentils like chana dal (Cicer arietinum), moong dal (Vigna radiate), tur dal (Pisum sativum) and urad dal (Vigna mungo), etc. Pediococcus sp., Streptococcus sp. and Leuconostoc sp. 15,59

Sour Rice Rice (Oryza sativum) Lactic acid bacteria like L. bulgaricus, L. casei, P. acidilactici, S. faecalis, S. thermophilus, M. flavum and Sacchaeromyces sp. 11,15,68,69

Sez Rice (Oryza sativum) Bacillus spp., S. fibuligera, K. maxianus and Saccharomyces sp. 13,40,45

Chitou / Appam Rice (Oryza sativum) and urad dahl (Vigna mungo) Lactic acid producing bacteria like Bacillus spp., P. pentosaceous, T. halophilus, and L. plantarum. 70,68

Anarshe Rice (Oryza sativum) Not reported 15

Table 2 Description of some popular rice-based fermented cakes (pitha) in India [70].

Fermented cake (pitha) Specialty Raw material Shelf-life Microorganisms involved

Chakuli Dosa like round shaped flattened pan cake Rice (Oryza sativa) and black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo) 1 day Not reported

Enduri pitha Steamed flavor cake Rice (Oryza sativa) and black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo) 2 days Lactobacillus plantarum

Munha pitha Spongy and served by cutting into pieces. Parboiled rice (Oryza sativa) and black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo) 1-2 days Not reported

Chhuchipatra pitha Sweet taste, square shaped, pizza like appearance Parboiled rice (Oryza sativa) and black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo) 2 days Not reported

Podo pitha Slightly burnt outer cover, spongy soft inside Parboiled rice (Oryza sativa) and black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo) 2-3 days Not reported

Table 3 Presentation of traditional fermented beverages with the raw ingredients, microbial profile and

products nutrition.

Name of Beverage Origin Raw materials Starter Based / Natural Scientific exploration References

Microorganisms Nutrients

Haria East central India (West Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand) Low grade scorched rice Bakhar (microbes + plant residues) S. cerevisiae, lactic acid bacteria like L. fermentum, Bifidobacterium sp. pH-3.61, alcohol-3-4% (v/v), malto-oligosaccharides, pyranose sugar derivatives 26,55,56

Apong North-east India (Assam and Arunachal Pradesh) Rice, ash of paddy husk and straw Ipoh or epop (plant parts + old ferments) S. cerevisiae, Hanseniaspora sp., Kloeckera sp., Pischia sp. and Candida sp. pH -4.06, lactic acid-0.5%, carbohydrate-46 mg/ml, reducing sugar 3 mg/ml, protein- 1.1 mg/ml, free amino acids -2.43 mg/n ethanol-7.52%-18.5%, amylase-2.4 U/ml 8,72

Jou North-east India Cooked boiled rice Amao or angkur (microbes + plant parts) S. cerevisiae pH-2.0, carbohydrate-48 mg/ml, reducing sugar-3 mg/ml, protein- 1 mg/ml, free amino acid-3 mg/ml, total acidity-1.48% , alcohol-18% (v/v) 8

Judima North-East India Glutinous variety of rice Umhu or Humao (rice +plant parts) P. pentosaceous, B. circulans, B. catarosporous, B. pumilus, B. firmus, Debaryomyceshans enii, S. cerevisiae pH-4.4, titratable acidity-0.45%, carbohydrate-32 mg/ml, protein-0.97 mg/ml, free amino acids-3.21 mg/ml. ethanol-16%(v/v), trace elements like Cu, Cr, Mn, Fe, K, Na, Se 73,74

Zutho Nagaland Rice flour Khekhrii or grist (dust of sprouted unhulled rice) S. cerevisiae, Rhizopus sp. pH-3.6, acidity-5.1 ml, reducing sugar-6.3 mg/ml, total sugar-39.7 mg/ml, ethanol-5% (v/v) 8,75

Bhaati Jaanr North-east India Glutinous rice Marcha (rice dust + plant parts + old marcha) Hansenulaanomala, Rhizopus spp., yeasts, Pichia spp., Lactic acid bacteria, Pediococcus and L. bifermentous pH-3.5, alcohol-5.9% (v/v), ash-1.7%, protein-9.5%, fat-2.0%, crude fiber -1.5%, carbohydrate- 86.9%, food value (per 100 g) - 404.1 kcal, trace elements like Ca, K, P, Fe, Mg, Mn, Zn. 76

Rice Jann Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh Rice Balam or balma (microbes + plant parts) Not reported Jann is known to be enriched with ethanol (<10% v/v), carbohydrates, amino acids, minerals and vitamins. 40

Fig. 3. Traditional rice based beverages in India. A- Rice Jann; B- Haria; C- Judima; D- Bhati Jannar (by courtesy Prof. J. P. Tamang); E- Zutho; F- Unfermented Rice

Fig. 2. Traditional rice based Pithas in India. A- Chhuchipatra Pitha; B- Enduri Pitha; C- Podo Pitha (by courtesy Prof. Shantilata Sahoo); D- Chakuli Pitha; E- Munha Pitha (by courtesy Sikta Sui & Jyoti Prakash Soren)

Fig. 1. Traditional rice based Foods in India. A- Dosa; B- Idli; C- Dhokla; D- Uttapam; E- Selroti; F- Adai and Vada