|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
Starter cultures are preparations of microorganisms serving as inoculants for the production of fermented foods. The production of cheese, yogurt, fermented milk, wine, sauerkraut, hams, and sausages occurs through the use of starter cultures that are consistent, predictable, and safe. The cultures provide the food products with a multitude of properties. Acidification of the food matrix is a primary property in a large number of food fermentations. Acidification activity often will be used to define packaging size and the unit of activity, whereas other characteristics differentiate a culture from the range of other available starter cultures. Starter cultures are commercially available in liquid, frozen, or lyophilized form from several companies serving regional or global markets.