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Citizen science


Get involved and be part of an international community advancing fermented food research. Provide us with information or send us your homemade fermented foods.

FAQ Citizen Science

At the heart of HealthFerm lies a citizen science project that aims to advance the development of innovative and healthy fermented foods. 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!

Participate in the HealthFerm citizen science project on sourdough!

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.

If you are maintaining a sourdough at home, we would love to find out how you maintain it and which microbes live in it. Participation is super easy and free!

Two levels of participation are possible:

  • Give information about your sourdough

    This is the least time-consuming level suitable for everyone who is very busy but still wants to help us. Or anyone who does not want to send in a sample.

    However, we will only be able to provide you with general results and information on the project.

    Sign up below by selecting your country and filling out the questionnaire. At the end, indicate that you are not interested in sending us a sample of your sourdough.

  • Send in your sourdough

    This level of participation will ask some more of your time, normally a few hours, as you will actively help us generate results.

    This includes:

    • Filling in a questionnaire to sign up
    • Sending us a sample of your sourdough(s)
    • Performing some experiments at home including baking a bread
    • Sending us back the results of your experiments

    Next to general results and information, you will, near the end of the project, get a profile of your sourdough with its unique microorganisms and how this influences your sourdough. You will also be able to compare with other sourdoughs.


    Due to limited resources, we will not be able to collect everyone's sourdough. Once registered, we will let you know if you are selected to send us your sourdough for analysis. In case of non-selection, you will automatically still receive general information and results.

Want to participate even more? The HealthFerm project reaches further than only sourdough. Have a look below to find out what else you can contribute.

Participate in our questionnaire on the attitude of fermenters towards plant-based fermented foods!

The aim of this questionnaire is to gather data about your attitudes, values, food lifestyle, food choice motives, frequency of consumption of different foods as well as your views about different raw materials and the role of fermentation in achieving a sustainable future of food. This European fermenter perspective will be used to inform the scientific community and policymakers about the needed frameworks to advance and support at best the dietary transition. In this part of the project we want to collect this information through a short questionnaire which takes approximately 8-10 minutes.

Participate in the citizen science project on other plant-based fermented foods!

We are also interested in obtaining information about other types of at-home fermented plant-based foods and will possibly sample these in a later stage of the project.