Safety evaluation of West African alkaline fermented foods

Afolake Atinuke Olanbiwoninu*, Omololu Ebenezer Fagunwa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In West Africa, alkaline fermented foods play a major role in the diet of the populace. These products which are usually obtained from seeds rich in protein are often used as food condiments to enhance food flavour and taste or as meat/fish substitutes. The main biochemical reaction that takes place during fermentation is proteolysis, which leads to the release of peptides and essential amino acids in the products. The degradation of the amino acids is liable for a rise of the product pH to alkaline values of 8–10. It is generally recognized that alkaline fermentation produces safe products because of the alkalinity that makes it rather difficult for microorganisms, which might otherwise cause spoilage of the product to grow. However, these products have sometimes involved the risk of food-borne diseases because of the method for its preparation, quality of fermentation process, and use of local non-sterile utensils. Identifying the associated safety issues could be an essential prerequisite for improving risk management and the supply of healthy food. Here, different alkaline fermented foods of West Africa were discussed with respect to safety during pre-fermentation, fermentation, and post-fermentation. Despite the nutritional richness and probiotics potentials of alkaline fermented foods of West African origin, there are still safety concerns that may be tackled by good practices, monitoring and evaluation, and food regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-37
JournalJournal of Advances in Food Science & Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • African Foods
  • Fermented beverage
  • Fermentation
  • Food Safety
  • food safety and sustainability
  • food regulations
  • food-borne diseases
  • Probiotics
  • Gut Health
  • Gut microbiome


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