Characterization of the microbiota and volatile components of kocho, a traditional fermented food of Ethiopia
Kocho is a traditional product in Ethiopia, prepared by fermenting parts of ‘false banana’ plants (Ensete ventricosum). Fermentation practices of kocho vary depending on the region of Ethiopia. In this study, 14 kocho samples originating from four different areas were investigated. They varied both in the fermentation technique and the duration of fermentation. Samples were analysed to determine the microbial community using culture-independent 16S amplicon high-throughput sequencing. In addition, bacterial strains were isolated and identified. Furthermore, the volatile profiles were characterized by HS-SPME treatment coupled with GC/MS. The results indicated that Lactobacillus and Acetobacter were the most dominant genera during kocho fermentation with Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus brevis being the prevalent species of Lactobacillus. The analysis of the volatile profiles demonstrated that acetic acid and butanoic acid prevailed in all samples. Our results showed that kocho samples prepared in different areas and using different processing methods varied both in the composition of the microbiota and in their volatile profiles.