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kombucha "mushroom"

Haoma haoma at news.dorsai.org
Mon Jul 3 20:52:43 EST 1995

There has been alot of publicity recently about a substance being
called "Kombucha mushrooms". This substance is actually not a
mushroom but is a combination of different bacteria. 

This is from some information sent to me on it:  
"The kombucha fungus is built in membrane form and is a symbiosis
of yeast cells and different bacteria. Among these bacteria are:
Bacterium xylinum, Bacterium gluconicum, Acetobacter ketogenus,
and Pichia fermentans. (The latter is not a bacterium: O.L.)
(O.L. refers to Otto Lang, IBM ret., Amateur mycologist.)
     Since Kombucha is called a "mushroom" by many people and a
"fungus" by others, and since it is a "yeast" as well as a
bacterial ferment, there are those who will automatically warn
all candida albicans victims--those with chronic candidiasis--to
stay away from Kombucha.
     "Not so!" Cried Gunther Frank when we asked him about this.
He argued that the Saccharomycodes is a yeast that does not have
spores and is therefore not in the family of candida, so it can
be actually antagonistic to the troublesome yeast that infects so
many people.
     Frank explained: "Whereas most of the ascomycetes such as
penicillin, ergot, bread mould, mildew, thrush (candida) and
others reproduce by means of spores, most of the yeasts,
reproduce vegetatively by means of budding. In addition there is
the combination of budding and fission. The fission yeasts
reproduce by means of fission like bacteria, they don't bud nor
have spores. The Pombe fission yeast of the Kombucha culture
belongs to this type."
     The primary yeast is Schizosaccyromyces pombe with some
other types like Pinchia fermentens mixed in."

However, in the book, "The Yeasts", (J. Lodder, ed., 1971), under
Schizosaccharomyces Pombe, Lindner, it says:
     "Formation of ascospores:  Isogamous conjugation immediately
preceding ascus formation has been observed regularly in
abundantly sporulating strains. In such strains, as a rule, the
conjugating cells are derived from one mother cell by fission,
which points to a haploid and homothallic strain. For a long time
non-sporulating strains have been known as well, often they
represent mating types. Mutation from one type to the other
explains the occasional ascus in an obviously asporogenous
strain. In homothallic strains spores develop on malt agar within
one week."

This would seem, to me, to mean that the schizosaccharmomyces
pombe do develop spores although mutations can produce non-
sporing strains.

Therefore, it would seem that Gunther Frank is incorrect.

Anyone have any further information on this--or comments?


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