What Are Microbes?
Microbes are microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and algae. These organisms have been found and used in food for centuries. Bacteria and fungi are both found in and used to produce baked goods, dairy products, beer, and wines. While these little organisms are great at producing the foods we love, other species can also be responsible for spoiling our food and causing food poisoning. With time and technological advances, we have managed to greatly decrease the change of this kind of contamination. Proper cooking methods and storage are key to preventing spoilage and illness.
Many foods today are heavily processed. They contain additives, stabilizers, artificial preservatives, sweeteners, dyes, the list goes on and on. This is, in part, to keep the food from spoiling. However, it is also to add flavor, textures, and color to the food as well. With so many of our foods being processed, we are starting to note some concerns. Is consuming all of these chemicals in our daily diet good for us? What are the repercussions?
Studies have begun to investigate what these chemicals are doing to us and children are among the most heavily affected. Evidence suggests that these chemicals can affect hormone production and can cause certain mental illnesses to worsen.
With this new information coming to light, many food companies are trying to cut back on the chemicals. But what do they replace them with? Many are looking towards microorganisms. People may be concerned about the potential for illness, however, most of the microorganisms out there are incapable of causing disease. Truthfully, microorganisms are good for you.
Fermented foods containing microbes have been found to improve:
- Gut health
- Lower the risk of cardiovascular-related diseases
- Reduced the risk for type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, many edible microorganisms are a wonderful source of protein, vitamins, and healthy fats.
Growing these edible microorganisms is extremely sustainable too. They don’t take up much space to grow and they use simple substrates for metabolism and growth, making them easy to cultivate at an industrial scale. This cuts back on the need for land for food growth, and resources for food growth. It is a cheap, healthy, environmentally friendly new way to farm!
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