Invisible Worlds Residency - Ferment!

The third of our joint FoAM-Eden Project Invisible Worlds residencies is 'Ferment!' with Hoon Kim of Sohn Kitchen, illustrator Elizabeth Fortnum and microbiologist/geneticist Sean Meaden from the University of Exeter. The residency will take place in the new Invisible Worlds exhibition laboratory at the Eden Project, and visitors are free to drop in at any time. You can follow the progress of the residency here.

Ferment! is an interactive workshop where we can explore the process through science, food and art. British cuisine is uniquely disengaged with this ancient process but we believe it can be a useful tool in developing a new culture. As a simple method of preserving natural seasonal gluts and creating exciting flavours with local produce, knowing how to ferment can help open new dialogues between growers and consumers, the environment and the seasons. We invite you to study fermentation on its microbial scale, to taste and create your own ferments and explore the sound and art of this wonderful process!

The process of fermentation is driven by microbes and as the foods ferment the microbes change as well. In this residency we will be using new technology to read the DNA of the microbes using a hand-held device. The device uses nanotechnology to read a stretch of DNA as it passes through a nano-sized hole. This way, we can work out which microbes are present in the fermentation process and how the number of microbes changes. Alongside the DNA sequencing we will measure traditional indicators of the fermentation process like gas production and pH. Together these measurements will help show how bacteria are creating our fermented foods.

The DNA sequencing aspect of the Ferment! residency is additionally sponsored by Oxford Nanopore Technologies and the Society for Applied Microbiology.

This residency runs 2-14 October 2018.

The Invisible Worlds residencies are funded by the Wellcome Trust.