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Humans enjoyed blue cheese and beer 2700 years ago: research

Washington: It’s no secret that beer and cheese are closely related, but a new study shows how deep their roots are in Europe, where Austrian salt mine workers ate both until 2,700 years ago. How is it clear?

Scientists made the discovery by analyzing a sample of human waste found in the heart of the Hallstatt mine in the Austrian Alps. This study was published in the journal Current Biology on Wednesday.

Frank Maixner, a microbiologist at the Eurac Research Institute in Bolzano, Italy, the lead author of the report, said he was surprised to learn that salt miners “intentionally used fermentation” over 2,000 years ago. ..

“This is very sophisticated in my opinion,” Maixner told AFP. “This was something I didn’t expect at the time.”

According to researchers, this finding was the earliest evidence of cheese aging in Europe to date.

Alcohol consumption is certainly well documented in old books and archaeological evidence, but salt miners’ feces contained the first molecular evidence of beer consumption on the continent at the time.

“Not only has prehistoric culinary practices been refined, but complex processed foods and fermentation techniques have played an important role in our early food history,” said Kirstin Kowarik of the Museum of Natural History Vienna. It’s becoming more and more clear. ” ..

Very special place

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Hallstatt has been used for salt production for over 3,000 years.

The community is “a very special place, nowhere in the Alps,” he explained. “The entire community worked and lived in this mine.”

Miners worked there all day, ate and went to the mine toilets.

The feces of miners were particularly well preserved thanks to the constant temperature of about 8 ° C (46F) and the high concentration of salt in the mine.

The researchers analyzed four samples. One is from the Bronze Age, two is from the Iron Age, and the other is from the 18th century.

One of them, about 2,700 years old, was found to contain two fungi, Penicillium location and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Both are known today for use in food manufacturing.

“Halstadt miners seem to have deliberately applied food fermentation technology using the microorganisms still used in the food industry today,” Mexner said.

Balanced diet

Researchers have also studied the diet of miners, which consist primarily of grains, some fruits, and beans and meat as a source of protein.

“In my opinion, the diet was exactly what these miners needed,” Mexner said. “It’s clearly balanced and has all the key components you need.”

The main difference from today’s menu is the degree of food processing, which was very low at the time. Bronze Age and Iron Age miners use whole grains, suggesting the consumption of certain types of porridge. To 18th-century miners, the grain appeared to be mashed, indicating that they ate bread and cookies.

One of the other discoveries in this study was the composition of the miners’ microflora, or the set of bacteria present in their bodies.

In the four samples studied, microbiota were very similar to the modern non-Western population, which tends to have a more traditional lifestyle.

This suggests “recent changes” in the industrialized human microbiota, “probably due to modern lifestyle, diet, or medical advances,” the study said.

However, microbiota are often associated with a variety of modern illnesses, Maixner said. According to him, determining exactly when this change happened can help scientists understand what caused it.

Humans enjoyed blue cheese and beer 2700 years ago: research

Source link Humans enjoyed blue cheese and beer 2700 years ago: research

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