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Kombucha / kargasok tea / tea-kvass etc.: yeasts content

robert jones rwj at tyunnos.demon.co.uk
Sat Aug 12 05:04:13 EST 1995

Over the course of the last 2-3 months I have been endeavouring to get
commercial analytical laboratories to undertake a chemical /
microbiological assay of the solution derived from the {propagation} of this
culture but so far with very limited success.  The UK National Collection of
Yeast Cultures has been very helpful but unfortunately requires a solution
free of contaminants and other constituents before it can identify
individual yeasts.  It will not attempt to identify other constituents.

I would be interested in hearing whether this culture or the 'tea' derived
from it is the subject of any research in relation to composition in UK
commerce or academia; or whether anyone knows if there is likely to be
any interest in any quarter in pursuing research into the topic of its
composition, the effects on health of its ingestion, etc etc.  The topic is
currently the subject of much hype and speculation in the USA at the moment
and in my opinion it would be  unfortunate if that caused the culture to
return to relative obscurity before a scientific examination ~onot
constituents and health effects had been undertaken.  (Two aspects of
the latter hold topical interest: the alleged reduction of disability
resulting from  arthritis and the suggestion that the glucuronic acid
content and its conjugation effect may help to eliminate estrogens and
estrogen emulations).

The most recent literature I have seen over the last couple of years dates
back to the 1960s - there seems to be a dearth of recent information other
than anecdotal reports.

More information below:

The kombucha is conventionally described as a symbiosis of certain
[non-sporing] yeasts and bacteria and is cultivated in a sugared tea
medium, producing a tart and effervescent beverage after an average of
8 days' fermentation.

Each Kombucha culture is likely to differ as to constituents, but
conventionally the mains ones are stated to be:

1.  Bacterium xylinum
2.  Bacterium xylinoides
3.  Bacterium gluconicum

4.  Saccharomyces ludwigii
    [Saccharomyces ludwigii is now known as
    Saccharomycodes ludwigii.]
5.  Saccharomyces apiculatus varieties
    [Saccharomyces apiculatus
    is now known as Hanseniaspora uvarum.]
6.  Schizosaccharomyces pombe
7.  Acetobacter ketogenum
8.  Torula (varieties)
    [? The name 'Torula' is no longer
    in general use and all species using this
    name have now been re classified into
    other genera.]
9.  Pichia fermentans

10. acetic acid
11. alcohol
12. caffeine
13. l-lactic acid
14. folic acid
15. gluconic acid
16. glucose
17. glucuronic acid
18. heparin
19. hyaluronic acid
20. mucoitin-sulfuric acid
21. niacin
22. oxalic acid
23. pyridoxine (B6)
24. riboflavin (B2)
25. saccharose
26. tannins (class)
27. thiamine (B1)
28. usnic acid
29. vitamin B-12.

Also pathogenic contaminants:

(i)   botulism spores
(ii)  acetone / ketone bodies
(iii) water soluble aspergillus.
(iv)  salmonella
(v)   e-coli

Any information will be gratefully received.

robert jones                                       rwj at tyunnos.demon.co.uk

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