from 09/01/2023 until 31/08/2026

HealthFerm is a European research project investigating innovative pulse and cereal-based food fermentations together with the health effects and consumer perception of novel fermented foods.

Fermented foods have gained a reputation for being beneficial to health. However, with the exception of yoghurt and other cultured dairy products, little concrete evidence exists for the actual health benefits of fermented foods. Therefore, the HealthFerm project performs several human intervention studies to better understand the interaction between food fermentation microbiomes, fermented grain-based foods and the human gut microbiome and how they support human health. A community-science approach plays a vital part in collecting diverse food fermentation microbiomes used to design innovative fermented plant-based foods with optimal health benefits.

Find out more about the HealthFerm project on our project website and animated video!


The citizen science project aims to form a network of researchers, citizen scientists, artisans and food industry professionals who will collect and document the plant-based fermented food biodiversity in Europe. Fermented foods are present in our daily diet and in different food cultures: from (sourdough) bread to beer, wine, pickles, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha and many more!

Sourdough is the most commonly at-home fermented food and it contains a lot of interesting microorganisms. Thus, sourdough forms the prime food product to sample in our large-scale citizen science project.

Have you ever wondered what is going on in your sourdough?

Did you ever follow a recipe and realise your sourdough rises much faster or slower than indicated? Does your bread taste more or less sour than store-bought sourdough bread? Does your sourdough behave differently throughout the year? There are many factors that influence the properties of a sourdough. Together, we can find out why your sourdough behaves the way it does and how it compares to hundreds of other sourdoughs.

What can we find out about your sourdough?

We can explore the fascinating world of microorganisms living in your sourdough. We aim to uncover the diversity of these microbes present in your sourdough. By asking you a series of questions about your sourdough practices, we hope to understand how these microorganisms colonise your sourdough and discover what makes your sourdough unique and special. Moreover, we will provide you with insights into how your sourdough compares to the sourdough of other participants, offering a broader perspective on this delicious craft.

Needed equipment

When selected for sample collection, participants will be provided with a sample kit and booklet with guidelines.

Created Nov. 28, 2023, 4:07 p.m.

Updated Nov. 28, 2023, 4:25 p.m.

Food Chemistry Microorganism
Science Topics
Food science
Participate from home Do-it-yourself
Difficulty Level
Participation tasks
Observation Learning Problem solving Identification Specimen/sample collection Sample analysis
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