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Dregs of our forgotten ancestors: Fermentative microorganisms in the rehistory of Europe, the steppes, and Indo-Iranian Asia and their contemporary use in traditional and probiotic beverages

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Evidence for the deep antiquity of kvass, mead, wine, and koumiss, alcoholic beverages used by early Indo-European peoples, is encountered in comparative linguistics and in archaeology. Cognates and artifacts pertaining to these beverages illuminate possible patterns of dispersal of Indo-European languages and peoples. Drinking rituals, sanctioning of royal power by beverage consumption, and deities with the power of brewing and intoxication span an inter-continental range of ancient Indo-European language and myth. Traces of such cultural practices survive today. Kvass and koumiss, beverages unfamiliar to most western Europeans and Americans, continue to be produced and consumed in eastern Europe and central Asia. Modern, cataloged germplasm collections contain yeasts and lactobacilli isolated from kvass, mead, or koumiss, or used to produce these drinks. Contemporary enthusiasm for these beverages, and research into the microorganisms used to produce them, contribute to popular and scientific interest in probiotics.
Dugan, F.M.
Includes references
FUNGI 2009 Fall, v. 2, no. 4
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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