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Apr 24, 2012 11:50 AM

What Micro Organism Makes Fish Sauce / Worcestershire ?

Does anyone out there actually know what is producing the sauce during fish fermentation?

I haven't been able to find this in my own searching. Is it a bacteria? If so, what kind? Is it just the natural gut flora that fish have? If so, why doesn't it matter what fish you use?

Just curious.

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  1. Some halophilic Bacillus type bacteria doing what they do best - lactic acid fermentation. Appears there's some Gram-positive cocci too such as different strains of Tetragenococcus halophilus. Basically add enough salt to kill all the other guys and only the salt-loving halophytes remain to happily chomp away at the dead fish.

    And just like different yeasts will give different characteristics to beer, different bacteria will give different characteristics to fish sauce and different regions will have their own unique local blend of bacterial strains. Bacteria. . .where would we be without them!?! So many delicious foods they help produce!

    Tons more articles here:

    1 Reply
    1. re: seamunky

      Here's an interesting excerpt about using a specific bacteria isolated from Frigate Mackeral fish sauce mush to improve the odor of fish sauce:

      "As a result of sensory evaluation, fishy, sweaty, fecal, and rancid notes of the fish sauce treated with the bacterium were all weaker than those of the nontreated fish sauce. No changes were found with respect to burnt, cheesy, meaty, and ammoniacal notes between fish sauce treated with the bacterium and that without treatment. Taken together, the odor of fish sauce was much improved by treatment with the isolated bacterium."