Home / The art of Mabisi production: a traditional fermented milk

The art of Mabisi production: a traditional fermented milk

GCP-1 Zambian fermented food
August 30, 2018 By: F&BKP Office Image: Project research team

This manuscript “The art of Mabisi production: a traditional fermented milk” is linked to the Global Challenges Programme project on traditional fermented foods in Zambia and describes the different processing practices of traditional Mabisi production in Zambia.


Food fermentation is an important process for the production of a variety of foods rich in nutrients, flavour and with extended shelf-life. Fermented dairy products can also be rich in beneficial microbes and one such product with potential is mabisi. Mabisi is a traditional fermented milk product from Zambia made through spontaneous fermentation of raw milk at ambient temperature using a calabash (gourd), clay pot, plastic or metal container. The fermentation takes about 48 hours after which the product is stirred and ready for consumption. The aim of this study was to determine the types of production methods of mabisi and identify the critical production process parameters. A survey was conducted using interviews and observations to determine the existing production practices/technologies and to capture indigenous knowledge on mabisi production in nine provinces of Zambia. We found seven different production methods which we coined; tonga, thick-tonga, illa, barotse, backslopping, cooked and creamy types. Interestingly, the tonga-type mabisi was produced throughout the country by different ethnic groups. The main process parameters were found to be fermentation time and temperature, type of containers, presence/absence of backslopping, agitation, heating and cooling, removal of whey and addition of raw milk. And further found that mabisi is a versatile product consumed with a wide variety of foods. This basic information is crucial for production process optimisation and microbial communities dynamics studies.

Please download the complete manuscript “The art of mabisi production: a traditional fermented milk” (PDF).



Leave your contribution here

(will not be published)

Latest F&BKP posts
F&BR synthesis study - Circular Agriculture
F&BKP Office
February 24, 2020
CGIAR, what's next? (Photo: Farmer Sita Kumari uses a mobile app together with research Pratima Baral in Surkhet, Nepal)
Wijnand van IJssel
February 17, 2020
Welcome to the CGIAR Results Dashboard
F&BKP Office
February 12, 2020
Report CoP Food Systems Governance Mechanisms - December 13, 2019
F&BKP Office
February 6, 2020
Last two Senior Experts awarded funding in SEP
F&BKP Office
February 4, 2020