A symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or SCOBY is a commercial and popular (rather than scientific) term used to refer to mixed cultures of bacteria and yeast present during production of the fermented beverages such as kefir and kombucha. In this regard, the appearance of the term "colony" in the name—which implies individual organisms of the same species living closely together, organisms generally clonal (all descending from a single ancestor) and therefore genetically identical apart from low frequency mutations—is a scientific misnomer, such that the acronym is essentially absent in the biomedical literature. The species comprising the mixed cultures vary from preparation to preparation, but generally include Acetobacter bacterial species and various Saccharomyces and other yeast types. SCOBY cultures used in beverage productions can produce a structure referred to as a mushroom, and in similar loose uses of terminology, the term SCOBY culture and "mushroom" may be used synonymously.
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