Greece is a vast storehouse of ancient culture, art and knowledge, including culinary tradition. The food culture has been formed upon geographical, climate, historic, social and religious elements. Fermented foods have also a long tradition in Greece and are important components of the human diet. These traditional fermented foods are characterised by their high nutritional value and particular sensorial properties. These are due to the quality of the raw materials used, which, in turn, is determined by the climate conditions and thus the flora and fauna diversity. The same parameters have gradually shaped the microbial diversity of the traditional fermented foods. The members of this indigenous microbiota play a crucial role in the development of the nutritional and sensorial profile of these foods.
The ACA-DC collection was worldwide first to describe two new bacterial species, namely Streptococcus macedonicus, for strains isolated from traditional Greek Kasseri cheese (1998), and Lactobacillus zymae, for strains isolated from traditional Greek sourdough (2005). Moreover, in 2006, strains of two rather unusual Lactobacillus species, namely Lactobacillus rennini and Lactobacillus acidipiscis, were isolated from Kopanisti cheese.
Through the use of a range of modern and advanced methods, the potential of this diverse collection has become clearer regarding the possibilities in flavour bio-generation, bio-texturant molecule development, bio-preservative molecule production and probiotic potential that are presented and can be aimed at solving major technological hurdles in flavour, texture, shelf-life, food safety and human health that need to be overcome.