SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. The term is often used to refer to cultures of bacteria and yeast present during production of the fermented beverage kombucha. A SCOBY colony or culture may be referred to as a mushroom.
Yeast and bacteria commonly found in SCOBY include:
Acetobacter: This is a collection of aerobic (requiring oxygen) bacterial species which produce acetic acid and gluconic acid. It is always found in kombucha. Acetobacter strains also build the scoby mushroom. Acetobacter xylinoides and Acetobacter ketogenum are two strains found in kombucha.
Saccharomyces: This includes a number of yeast strains which produce alcohol, and are the most common types of yeast found in kombucha. They can be aerobic or anaerobic (requires an oxygen-free environment). They include Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Saccharomycodes apiculatus, Zygosaccharomyes species, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Schizosaccharomyces pombe: A yeast species commonly called "fission yeast".
Brettanomyces: Another collection of yeast species, either aerobic or anaerobic, commonly found in kombucha and capable of producing alcohol or acetic acid.
Pediococcus: These anaerobic bacteria produce lactic acid and slime. They are sometimes, but not always, found in kombucha.
Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis is a yeast strain that is unique to kombucha. It produces alcohol and carbonation as well as contributing to the SCOBY mushroom body.
Use in food production
Foods and beverages which require SCOBY in their production include:
- Ginger beer plant; a SCOBY used in the fermentation of ginger beer
- Kefir; producing this beverage requires a SCOBY called tibicos, the composition of which may vary
- Vinegar; production requires a mother of vinegar
- BBC News The Fermentation Revival
- Natalie Padilla, Do It Yourself, The Harvard Crimson, April 18, 2012.
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