In this unit, students measure the nutrient content of various foods, determine the function of soy in foods, and learn how fermentation of soy can be used to make different foods. The unit includes international/cultural implications for the way different cultures use food science as well as ideas about food safety and extending shelf life. Biology teachers teaching fermentation as part of respiration can use these lessons to give students an application of the process.
Fermentation is actually anaerobic respiration, making energy without oxygen. Most fermentation in food is accomplished with the help of microbes: the microbes make energy for their own metabolism and we benefit from the products they leave behind. This curriculum highlights foods such as kimchee, tofu and natto.
Another lesson in the unit is related to food safety and shelf life. Ingredients such as water or soy help determine how long food stays fresh and either inhibits or accelerates microbe growth.