Traditionally fermented foods are source of income and improve quality of diets in rural communities. In Mozambique there are several locally fermented foods, however little is known about fermentation technology and microbial composition. This study aimed to determine physico-chemical parameters and the microbial diversity of traditionally fermented foods in Mozambique. Samples of ucanhi, maheu, massi and rhali were analyzed in regard to pH and titratable acidity; lactic acid bacteria (LAB), yeasts and microorganisms of food safety concern (Echerichia coli and molds). Purified isolates were identified at the species level using identification kits. The results show that in fermented foods, the pH ranged from 3.33±0.17 to 4.42±0.12 and the titratable acidity from 2.74±0.92 to 9.75±2.87. Counts ranged from 2.54±0.57 to 4.23±1.09 Log CFU/ml for LAB and 2.24±0.43 to 3.63±0.55 Log CFU/ml for yeast. Apart from ucanhi, molds were present in almost all products in quantities that reached 3.59±0.42 to 4.29±0.45 Log CFU/ml. The isolated species from the fermented products were Lactobacillus plantarum, L. fermentum, for LAB, and Candida albicans, C. famata, Cryptococcus humicola, Rhodotorula mucilaninosa 2, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, for yeasts. In general, fermented foods in Mozambique are quite acidic; LAB and yeast counts were low; microorganisms with public health importance were isolated in these products.
Key words: Fermented foods, food safety, lactic acid bacteria, Mozambique, yeasts.
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