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-   -   Pasteurization - a challenge (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f167/pasteurization-challenge-386224/)

jambafish 01-31-2013 04:28 PM

Pasteurization - a challenge
 
Some kombucha teas taut their probiotic content, and traditional wisdom says the living bacteria in the tea is itself a probiotic. Studies and spectral chemical analysis say otherwise.

Explain how probiotics can exist for an extended period of time (more than 4 hours) in a PH3 environment.

Sdaji 02-07-2013 12:01 AM

Can you explain why they can't?

The microbes exist in the highly acidic environment, they're specialised microbes. The digestive system is acidic. I'm no expert on probiotics, but I don't see anything jumping out to me as being contradictory or puzzling.

PhelanKA7 02-07-2013 12:05 AM

There are some extremophiles that can thrive in sulfuric acid. Kombucha is not really a stretch then is it?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremophile
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acidophile_(organisms)

jambafish 02-07-2013 05:59 AM

Which of these exists in kombucha?

I've read reports there are no such probiotics in KT, and Chr. Hansen, the probiotics specialist making breakthroughs in the industry of juice-stable probiotics, tells me they don't have anything that could exist in less than 3.44, and that the stability of probiotics decreases rapidly in an environment rich in natural acids.

I'd love to know there are probiotics in KT, and from that information extrapolate shelf life information, but even while I find in-depth informational analysis on the complete acids found in the tea, the same analysis is often topical with regards to probiotics.

But you've got my interest peaked and I've reached out to see if I can find information on the subject.

saramc 02-07-2013 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jambafish (Post 4874510)
Which of these exists in kombucha?

I've read reports there are no such probiotics in KT, and Chr. Hansen, the probiotics specialist making breakthroughs in the industry of juice-stable probiotics, tells me they don't have anything that could exist in less than 3.44, and that the stability of probiotics decreases rapidly in an environment rich in natural acids.

I'd love to know there are probiotics in KT, and from that information extrapolate shelf life information, but even while I find in-depth informational analysis on the complete acids found in the tea, the same analysis is often topical with regards to probiotics.

But you've got my interest peaked and I've reached out to see if I can find information on the subject.

I would take a look at Ed Kasper's site, The Happy Herbalist. He has done a lot of work with kombucha and identifies some of the probiotics which MAY be found in your KT, since all are not created equal in home fermentation.

jambafish 02-08-2013 04:18 AM

I already sent an email to Ed Kasper to ask him since he also doesn't mention which probiotics are in kombucha--at least not that I've read, and I thought I'd read the entire site.

Sdaji 02-11-2013 06:22 AM

There are obviously live microbes in kombucha. The fact that you use kombucha as a source of microbes to make more kombucha is pretty clear evidence of that! The fact that if you leave kombucha longer, beyond the point at which you drink it, it continues to ferment rapidly for weeks shows that the acidity at the point you drink kombucha is not even close to the levels required to harm the microbes.

Whether there are enough or the right type to be appreciably beneficial is more difficult to demonstrate. I'm sure there's a benefit, but I can't say I'm 100% sure if it's a drop in the ocean or three swags full.

I mainly drink kombucha for the acids. I feel much better if I'm regularly drinking it, and if I'm not I get constant cravings for olives, capers and all types of salty and acidic foods. Before I found kombucha I would often eat olives for dinner, just olives (about 800g, is that about two pounds?) and drink the brine as well, which was the best bit. The acids definitely do me a lot of good. I'm sus about the amount of B vitamins and probiotics, but if they're in there as well, fantastic, if not, oh well, I'm in it for the acids anyway.

jambafish 02-11-2013 08:37 PM

It's alive, but in order to be a probiotic it needs to be healthful to the body. So I'm coming around to understanding the appearance of Saccharomyces as the probiotic most commonly referred to in KT, which can survive in a low PH environment. I would like to know if it survives shelf life and gut transit to become healthful, and just what research has been done to determine the health benefits on healthy adults? I recently noticed NASA wants to bring KT to the moon due in part to it's probiotic benefit, but I've not

GT lists two Saccharomyces strains: cerevisiae and boulardii.

High Country lists as their probiotics
Gluconacetobacter Obediens - The cellulose that holds together a SCOBY
Dekkera Anomala - This is a yeast in the genus Brettanomyces and I've read it can possibly spoil wine
Dekkera Bruxellensis - The flavor center of Brettanomyces
Z. Kombuchaensis - I believe this is also Saccharomyces

Saccharomyces is extremely common yeast and competes with Dekkera bruxellensis. Dekkera proliferates in an environment rich in nitrates and can cause off flavors. Since I've had some off flavors, I've gone back and noticed I do have nitrates I should probably filter out of my water, just to be sure. I also realized the off flavors intensified in secondary batches flavored with strawberries, which are also high in nitrates. Probably a coincidence, but I'm keeping an eye on it nonetheless.

Anyway, I've searched and searched and searched and I found a lot of interesting information, but I couldn't find information on these yeast strains "as" probiotics or their positive affects on the body. So my question is now changing to "what are the benefits of the above on a healthy adult?" In short, why are they considered probiotics? There is information on Saccharomyces and its affects on kids with diarrhea, but that's all I could turn up.

It was brought to my attention that the faq page for búcha kombucha, a popular live kombucha, had this to say on the subject

"What is meant by probiotics?

Probiotics refers to those live, active microorganisms that confer a health benefit on the host, such as those found in yogurt. Although unproven scientifically, many believe that some kombucha culture microorganisms can be regarded as such" (http://www.mybucha.com/about-us/faq/).

I like the idea of probiotics, but I'm just not sure a couple strains out of a countless variety with different properties are going to deliver a whole lot of benefit, unless they just so happen to be what my gut needs. Like you, Sdaji, I also drink KT for the acids. Well, that and the flavor.

Any more information on probiotics is welcome. This has been an interesting investigation.

Sdaji 02-12-2013 01:32 PM

You raise some good points, but none of it is definitive.

My reckoning is that the probiotic benefit is likely to be there (it makes sense, kombucha microbes thrive in a very acidic environment, so if any microbes can survive in the gut they seem likely candidates) but is likely to be slight (I don't think kombucha has a massive concentration of microbes). I happily accept that it's a widely misunderstood topic and I'm no expert. It seems to me fairly unlikely that kombucha microbes could do all that much good in your digestive system, but then again, it's not exactly intuitively obvious that yoghurt microbes thriving on dairy would survive in your guts and do all that much good either.

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, the dairy industry is pretty powerful, and probably helps push the 'yoghurt is good for probiotics' thing from behind the scenes. Kombucha is not a commercial product in any meaningful way (easy to produce at home, difficult and expensive to produce and store in a shop) so there is noone pushing to make it look good.

I do hope that one day someone rigorously tests all aspects of kombucha.

jambafish 02-13-2013 03:14 PM

"At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist..." says the guy with the peak oil signature. Haha.

I also hope someone does a full test of the affects of KT on the human body--particularly where probiotics are concerned.

I recently contacted White Labs to ask about the yeast they advertise for use with kombucha. Turns out they really don't have anything designed for kombucha, they just have yeast that could be used. When asked about probiotics, they said they didn't have any sort of yeast that could produce probiotics, but in a way one might be able to consider the yeast itself a kind of probiotic--sort of. As I mentioned in my last post, it seems to the lay person this is exactly what the producers of KT are citing.

In order to move this from the realm of speculation, I asked the FDA for the record numbers re kombucha as probiotic (cited in the 2010 NASA news blurb I mentioned) in order to file a FOIA request for the documents. Wish me luck!


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