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J Appl Microbiol. 2000 Nov;89(5):834-9.

Changes in major components of tea fungus metabolites during prolonged fermentation.

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Department of Food Science, National Chung-Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC.


Changes in major components and microbes in tea fungus broth (or kombucha; teakwass) prepared from nine different sources during a prolonged fermentation of up to 60 days were investigated. Cell concentrations of both yeasts and acetic acid bacteria in broth were generally higher than those in the cellulosic pellicles. The residual sucrose concentration decreased linearly with time, although the rate fell after the first month. Metabolic fates of glucose and fructose produced as a result of the hydrolysis of sucrose were different. Glucose was not produced in parallel with fructose (0.085 g 100 ml(-1) d(-1)) but was produced with a lower initial rate (0.041 g 100 ml(-1) d(-1)). Both titratable acidity and gluconic acid increased steadily with time for all samples, although gluconic acid was not generated for 6 days until the fermentation had begun. Acetic acid increased slowly to a maximum value of 1.1 g 100 ml(-1) after 30 days; thereafter, it decreased gradually. Gluconic acid contributed to the titratable acidity and thus, the taste of tea fungus broth, during the final stage of fermentation. It is concluded that the desired quality or composition of kombucha can be obtained through the proper control of fermentation time.

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