Why would it be beneficial to use bacteria for food production in space instead of using machines and chemicals?


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Lynn Blakeman answered
It would be beneficial to use bacteria for food production in space because bacteria are light weight, take up very little space and are more cost effective than machinery as a long term solution.

Bacteria are widely used in food production, the most important type being lactic bacteria (Lactobacillus species).

When making cheese, bacteria grows in the milk converting the sugar lactose into lactic acid ensuring the correct acidic level, and this is also where the cheese acquires its moisture. The culture is also responsible for the taste, smell and texture of the cheese. 

In cheeses such as Emmenthal, the culture makes the holes. When making high quality cheese, it is essential to get the mix of cultures just right.

In yoghurt, bacteria are responsible for the texture and taste. If there is more acid, the taste will be stronger. "Good bacteria" (probiotic cultures)  are from carefully selected strains, and they have many health benefits. There is evidence that they can aid digestion and protect the immune system.

It's strange that when we hear the word 'bacteria' we associate it with a bad thing, yet we couldn't live without certain bacterias!

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