Ecology of fermented foods

Robert Scott, William C Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Fermented foods arise in the human relationship to the microbial environment. Human survival is connected to yeasts and bacteria that produce lactic acid and alcohol in preserved foods. This constitutes a fermentation ecosystem that embodies the succession of species, partitioning of resources, disturbance and equilibrium found in larger ecosystems. Fermented foods are preserved by microbes that live in food storage vessels. In many societies, the contribution of fermented food has been central. Fermentation ecosystems can be used as an engaging instructional tool to illustrate ecological concepts and lead to a more complex understanding of the ecology of human nutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Ecology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Alcohol
  • Ecosystem
  • Fermentation
  • Food
  • Lactic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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