Tag Archives: fermentation

Kombucha Fermentation and It’s Antimicrobial Activities

Below you will find studies on kombucha cultures of yeast and bacteria and how it produces antimicrobial compounds for
protection from foreign invaders.  Besides acetic acid, which is produced during the fermentation process,
kombucha is thought to have other factors and compounds
that may aid in these protective factors.

Kombucha Fermentation and Its Antimicrobial Activity

Journal Agric Food Chem. 2000 Jun;48(6):2589-94
Sreeramulu G, Zhu Y, Knol W.
Department of Applied Microbiology and Gene Technology, TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute, Zeist, The Netherlands.

kombucha lab testingKombucha was prepared in a tea broth (0.5% w/v) supplemented with sucrose (10% w/v) by using a commercially
available starter culture. The pH decreased steadily from 5 to 2.5 during the fermentation while the weight of the “tea fungus” and the OD of the tea broth increased through 4 days of the fermentation and remained fairly constant thereafter. The counts of acetic acid-producing bacteria and yeasts in the broth increased up to 4 days of fermentation and decreased afterward. The antimicrobial activity of Kombucha was investigated against iaa number of pathogenic microorganisms. Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella sonnei, Escherichia coli, Aeromonas hydrophila, Yersinia enterolitica,  Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloacae, Staphylococcus epidermis, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella enteritidis,  Salmonella typhimurium, Bacillus cereus, Helicobacterpylori, and Listeria monocytogenes were found to be sensitive to Kombucha. According to the literature on Kombucha, acetic acid is considered to be responsible for the inhibitory
effect toward a number of microbes tested,
and this is also valid in the present study.

However, in this study, Kombucha proved to exert antimicrobial activities against E. coli, Sh. sonnei, Sal. typhimurium, Sal. enteritidis, and Cm. jejuni, even at neutral pH and
after thermal denaturation.

This finding suggests the presence of antimicrobial compounds other than acetic acid and large proteins in Kombucha.

kombucha in lab


The Yeast Spectrum of the ‘Tea Fungus’

Mycoses. 1995 Jul-Aug;38(7-8):289-95
Kombucha’.Mayser P, Fromme S, Leitzmann C, Grunder K.
Department of Dermatology and Andrology, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany.

kombucha yeat spectrumThe tea fungus ‘Kombucha’ is a symbiosis of Acetobacter, including Acetobacter xylinum as a characteristic species, and various yeasts. A characteristic yeast
species or genus has not yet been identified. Kombucha is mainly cultivated in sugared black tea to produce a slightly acidulous effervescent beverage that is said to have several curative effects. In addition to sugar, the beverage contains small amounts of alcohol and various acids, including acetic acid, gluconic acid and lactic acid, as well as some antibiotic substances.

To characterize the yeast spectrum with special consideration given to facultatively pathogenic yeasts, two commercially available specimens of tea fungus and 32 from private households in Germany were analysed by micromorphological and biochemical methods. Yeasts of the genera Brettanomyces, Zygosaccharomyces and Saccharomyces were identified in 56%, 29% and 26% respectively. The species Saccharomycodes ludwigii and Candida kefyr were only demonstrated in
isolated cases. Furthermore, the tests revealed pellicle-forming yeasts such as Candida krusei or Issatchenkia orientalis/ occidentalis as well as species of the apiculatus yeasts (Kloeckera, Hanseniaspora). Thus, the genus Brettanomyces may be a typical group of yeasts that are especially adapted to the environment of the tea fungus. However, to investigate further the beneficial effects of tea fungus, a spectrum of the other typical genera must be defined. Only three specimens showed definite contaminations. In one case, no yeasts could be isolated because of massive contamination with Penicillium spp. In the remaining two samples (from one household),
Candida albicans was demonstrated.

The low rate of contamination might be explained by protective mechanisms, such as formation of organic acids and antibiotic substances.
Thus, subjects with a healthy metabolism do not need to be advised against cultivating Kombucha.
However, those suffering from immuno-suppression should preferably consume controlled commercial
Kombucha beverages.

Happy Culturing!

Kombucha Culture Strains Worldwide

  The name Kombucha or Kombu Cha refers to any of a variety of preparations of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea beverages that are commonly used as functional beverages for their detoxifying and other health benefits. Kombucha is found in many cultures in
China it is called: chájūn (茶菌),
Japanese: kōcha-kinoko (紅茶キノコ),
Korean: hongchabeoseotcha (홍차버섯차),
and Russian: chaynyy grib (чайный гриб).
kombucha tea culture
In this Blog page, we are talking not of different flavorings of kombucha, whether through herbs, fruits or sugars but to different strains themselves.  Today in the west, other kombucha type ferments or stains are known as kombu tea SCOBY, JUN or Jun Honey culture, Snow leopard, Monk Tea, Himalayan strain, and Kocha-Konko Kombu. Much is unknown on the origins of the strains, how they traveled the globe, and their culture makeup.  We have traveled throughout the world looking for new cultures, like our water kefir strains and yogurts.
We have brought back kombucha tea cultures from many places.
Friends and customers have sent them, too.

  Many call the kombucha culture a ‘mushroom’, however, KT does not produce spores like fungi mushrooms and really is a culture or SCOBY of yeasts and bacteria. Kombucha production starts by fermenting a tea/sugar solution using a “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast strains (SCOBY)”. The actual contributing microbial populations in the kombucha cultures vary, but the yeast component generally includes Saccharomyces and other species, and the bacterial component usually includes Gluconacetobacter xylinus to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to
acetic and other organic acids.

kombucha showing CO2Common Kombucha Strain – Most widely known strain in the USA and the west. Many sellers are producing cultures for sale over the internet. The culture produces the familiar taste and
standard flavor used by commercial and home brewers alike.
Traditionally kombucha maintained with black tea and cane sugar.

Monk Kombucha teaKombucha Monk Tea Strain – A strain from Tibet made with raw honey, Pu-erh tea, and herbs like goji berries. This strain produces a rose-colored culture and taste unlike the standard strain. Procured from monks in different Tibetan monasteries,
it is one of our favorites!

forbidden city strainsImperial Place Strain – Imperial Place strain is not very renowned or even seen by the common masses. Said to be for royalty only. Chinese legend says that even the palace workers may not view the culture. This culture type seems unavailable to the public and only known through legend. The stories may be true or
just a myth, only time may tell.

kombucha tea cultureRussian Red Rose Strain – A strain called ‘chaynyy grib’, said to have survived World War II by using ingredients on hand. In this culture strain’s, upkeep and tradition, brewing happened mainly with herbs (such as rose hips and elder berries) vs. tea, with the introduction of honey or sugar beets as the sweetening agent verses processed cane sugars. Tea and sugar was rationed or unavailable to the common person at that time. Over time, this culture has adapted to the new ingredients. It produces a red colored culture from the beets and herbs
used in the brewing cycle.
Today many people use sugar again due to availability, however,
traditionalist still use the old style recipes.

Japanese Kombu ChaJapanese Kocha Kinoko Kombu Strain – Supported with matcha green tea and sea vegetables Kombu Cha is very healing culture strain. Kombu Kombucha provides umami flavor, nutrients, anti-oxidants, and minerals from the matcha tea and seaweeds used. This strain produces a very clear white culture unlike
the traditional kombucha culture.

Himalayan Kombucha Himalayan Kombucha Strain – Regionally sustained kombucha strain from Northern India. Most likely, this strain of scoby migrated from China or Tibet through the trade routes. This kombucha strain is maintained on raw sugars and fruits, with no tea used in the fermentation process. Tea is an expensive commodity to many in India and may be why this strain developed without the need for tea in the brewing process.

JUN honey cultureJun Honey Culture – Becoming more popular in the west.  Some brewers and sellers of cultures try using a kombucha culture with honey; however, this does not make it JUN.
However, close to kombucha culture it is a culture strain unto it’s self. Sometimes it is called kombucha honey culture.

It is widely found in parts of western Tibet. Each province of China has a version of Chang beer, in some parts of Tibet the beer has Jun in it. The most easily found and tastiest Jun in Tibet comes from the Khampa Nomads – former monks turned physical and spiritual warriors who learned their knowledge of how to make Jun from the Bonpo monks. The warrior/monks would carry the JUN with them as they rode into battle using it as a tonic,
energy booster, and maybe a little alcohol, too!

JUN snow leopard strainSnow Leopard JUN Strain – The rarest form of Jun is the “snow leopard” and one taste gives the equivalent effect of increased energy and stamina.  The Bonpo monks who produce this fine Jun are of Taoist, Buddhist, and Shamanic origins and are thought to have been gifted a heirloom culture by Lao Tzu.
This Jun strain is very, very hard to find.

We hope you have found this blog page helpful in learning more about kombucha types and introducing people to new strains from other areas around the world.  We are always on the lookout for more cultures to add to the ‘culture bank’, which allows others access to less common culture types.  We have some of the culture strains listed above that are available at our culture store/bank.  Instructions for the cultures we maintain can be found on our main website www.organic-cultures.com.

Happy Culturing!
Live, Grow, and Share Cultured Foods.

How to make Natto…Natto Kin Spores

 

How to Make Natto…Natto Kin From Spores

Natto kin ready to eat

What is Natto?

Nattō (なっとう or 納豆?) is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto.  Some eat it as a breakfast food.  Nattō may be an acquired taste because of its powerful smell, strong flavor, and slimy texture.  In Japan, nattō is most popular in the eastern regions, including Kantō, Tōhoku, and Hokkaido.

Before Making NATTO:

  • Be sure the entire processing area is cleaned for production.  Make sure all utensils, pots, cheesecloth (FUKIN), etc. are as sterile as possible.  (Boil utensils for 5 minutes prior to using.)
  • The packet of NATTO spores comes with a special small spoon; be sure to use the small spoon to measure the appropriate quantity for the recipe.
  • The fermentation process requires the NATTO be kept at approximately 100°F (37°C) degrees for 24 hours.  Ovens with a low temperature setting can be used, an oven w/ light on only, or inoculate in large cube-shaped food dehydrators.
  • NATTO is quite odorous while fermenting, and you may want to isolate the fermenting NATTO during this time.

Ingredients and Supplies
needed for Making NATTO:

  • 2 pounds (900g) soybeans (about 4 cups)
  • 10cc water, boiled for 5 to 10 minutes to sterilize
  • One spoonful (0.1 g.) NATTO-kin spores (use the special spoon that came with the packet)
  • Cheesecloth or butter muslin (FUKIN in Japanese)
  • Non-reactive pot (i.e., stainless steel, enameled, ceramics, etc.) or Pressure cooker
  • Large stainless steel, wood, or plastic spoon or spatula
  • 3-4 oven-proof glass containers with lids

Instructions for Making NATTO:

– Wash the soybeans using running water to gets rid of tiny dirt or dead skins off the beans.
Cooking the soy beans for natto– Soak with clean water for 9 to 12 hours (longer soaking time recommended during colder months). Be sure to use approximately 3 parts water and 1 part soybeans to allow for expansion. You will end up with 8 to 12 cups of beans.

soaking the soy beans over night

– Drain the beans from the soaking water. Place beans in a large pot with mesh bowl and pour in water. Steam it for 3-4 hours.
Or fill with water and boil 5-6 hours. 
The recommended way is to use a “Pressure cooker”, that can be cooked faster than in a normal pot. Please refer to the
pressure cooker instruction manual for operation guidelines.

steaming the soy beans for fermentation

– Drain the cooked beans and place in a sterilized pot. Dissolve 1/5 special spoonful of NATTO spores (0.1g) into 10cc of sterilized water.

preparing the natto spores

– Immediately pour the NATTO spore solution over the beans while the beans are still warm but not hot to the touch. Stir the beans and water mixture together carefully using a sterilized spoon/spatula.

mixing in the spore mixture

– Place a thin layer of beans in each of the 3 to 4 containers. If at any point during the process some beans are spilled on the counter, etc., discard the spilled beans as they can contaminate the other beans if added back in to the batch.

mixing the beans and spores

Place the sterilized cheese cloth over the top of the containers and place the tight-fitting lid over the cheese cloth. Preheat the oven, dehydrator, or KOTATSU Japanese Warmer to 100°F (37°C).  Place the covered containers in the oven, dehydrator, or warmer and allow the NATTO to ferment for 24 hours being sure to keep the temperature steady at 100°F (37°C).  Check the temperature throughout the day/night.

fermenting the soy bean mixtureAt the conclusion of the fermentation period, let the NATTO cool for a couple of hours, then remove the lid and the cloth, replace the lid, and store the containers in the
refrigerator at least overnight.

NATTO can also be aged
in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Smaller portions of finished NATTO can be stored in the freezer and thawed for later use.
Happy Culturing!

Looking for Fresh Natto spores?  Right from Japan?  We have connection for fresh spores(3g)…right here !

Happy Culturing !  Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods.

Traditional Tempeh? Don’t Have no Banana Trees in My Backyard…

New July, 2014 Follow Up…

This has been a great method, developed by Organic Cultures, for wrapping soy beans inoculated with tempeh spores. The culturing/fermentation times are shorter, which could be in part from the wild yeast spores on the burdock leaf. Burdock wrapping of the tempeh cakes makes it easier and faster to produce vs. filling p[plastic bags

The burdock leaf is prefect this time of year for trying this tempeh production method yourself. Hurry though as the burdock will start the flowering and seed production cycles soon, which is still OK for wrapping the soy beans. This method is more like the traditional recipe and replaces plastic bags and the mess of poking all the holes

Once the cakes are inoculated and growing tempeh spores medium, simply place cakes into a freezer bag and freeze. We find it best to take the finished cakes out right before you plan to use them and allow thawing about half way through. Letting the cake thaw completely seems to make a softer lower grade product.

Let us know in the comments how this method goes for you. Remember to identify correctly the plant used or have someone knowledgeable in herbal medicine assist you.

_END

As with most of North America, we cannot produce tempeh in the traditional manor.  Traditional tempeh is a mix of cooked soybeans inoculated with the proper spore starter.  The inoculated tempe mixture is wrapped in fresh banana leaves to ferment outside for a day or two.

Here in the USA, it is common use plastic bags with perforated with holes for fermenting the soy cakes; however, this is not following traditional ways or sustainable methods.  The following experiment, brought about by looking for an alternative, is as follows: …

Experiment #:  Tempe1012AB274 –
Alternative Sources for Tempeh Fermentation

Equipment Used: Dehulled split soybeans, tempeh spores, burdock leaves, common kitchen and lab utensils and glassware.

– Experiment started via the standard tempeh recipe found on our organic-cultures.com website.  Once soy beans are cooked and processed, the steps changed from placing tempeh mixture in perforated plastic bags to encasing the spore inoculated soy beans in a sustainable and eco-friendly wrapping.

burdock leaf  –  Cakes then wrapped in fresh burdock leaf.  Found single layer of leaf material breaks and needs more holding strength.  Some blanch the burdock leaves; in this case, we did not.  Used two to three leaves placed opposed to each other.  Proper amount of tempe spore soybean mixture placed within leaf ‘basket’.  Secure with toothpicks or bamboo.  Amount of mixture can very due to size of leaves, however, for better fermentation times use around a 1/3 cup or 4 oz/ 113gr per leaf.

– Fermented cakes for 29 hours at 75 degrees F on breathable rack lightly covered with layer of plastic film to keep moisture in.  Cakes need air circulation but not enough to dry out.  Cover with additional layers of burdock leaves for future testing.

– Extra mixture placed in glass baking tray vs. plastic bags, mixture pressed down to better inoculate soybeans and covered lightly with plastic wrap.  Within same time frame as above, soybeans showed complete growth with pure white ‘fuzzy’ growth on top of the soy beans.  This method seemed faster for quick use or where a sliced ‘cake’ packaged in plastic bags, is not desired.  Allows easier mixing of a sauce or marinade with the fermented tempeh.  In our test, we mixed the tempeh with BBQ sauce, pressed into cakes, battered and deep fried.  Not the healthiest tempeh recipe it is a great vegan substitution for meat!  With a cultured dipping sauce, it makes a very nice appetizer or snack.

tempeh spore cake
Buy Tempeh Spore StarterRagi Tempe Spore Starter

Kombucha Tea Question of the Week…

Kombucha tea in Grolsch
Kombucha tea in Grolsch style beer bottles for safety

“Hi, I’m new to making Kombucha and I have a concern about bottling KT after the second ferment.  I have read on many sites that there’s a chance the bottle can explode from carbonation buildup and that …I should be very careful. So how do I be very careful?  Moreover, is that really a concern?  I see on your site that you do not mention it when explaining how to bottle KT.  Is that only a concern after the second ferment?”

To Answer Your Question…
Bottling is the best way to extend the shelf life of the kombucha beverage.  There is a concern with excessive buildup of carbonation when bottling.  Below are some steps to follow when doing the secondary fermentation:
1.  Do NOT add extra sugar or juice when bottling.  This adds raw sugar source which the yeasts will turn into carbonation & alcohol)
2.  Use quality bottles such as Grolsch style beer bottle (Grolsch or standard beer bottles are designed to hold extra pressure)
3.  Leave a 5% head space when filling each bottle and the pH is below 4.5
(In the beverage industry, this amount is required by the FDA)
4.  Just to make sure all is safe, keep your bottles in a cardboard or plastic box to keep glass and liquid from going every where    Following these easy steps will assist you in your secondary bottling process.  Please comment below with any other questions or a tip you may have to share.

Happy Brewing!

Welcome to Organic-Cultures

cultured_veggies_01
Culture Food stored and ready to eat

We are excited to introduce our newest web site dedicated to nothing but food culturer starters. We still provide the best kombucha cultures and fresh live kefir grain but now we have many other food cultures such as koji and tempeh spores.  At Organic Cultures.Com, we provide fresh traditional raw food cultures, including kefir grains, from different regional sources from around the world. All cultures are maintained with certified organic ingredients.   From dairy kefir and 5 different water kefir grains, kombucha tea starter, tempeh spores, and amasaké koji, we provide many cultures for the home food culturist.  Bringing these traditional foods cultures back into your life nourishes you and your family with healthy pro-biotics, real living foods, and a bit of ‘culture’, too!

This Blog will give the latest information on cultured foods, news articles, and thoughts on again creating living food just as we did from the start of civilization.