Mold on the kombucha mushroom culture is a common question asked here. What does mold look like compared with the dying yeast cultures that are common during the brewing cycle? A simple answer is that most mold or foreign growth will look like mold that occurs on other type of food such as bread or cheese. Most will be fuzzy and brown or green in colour. Any type of mold or fungus growing on top of the kombucha mushroom is cause to discard the whole mushroom culture due to contamination. Do not try and ‘save’ or 'rescue' a culture, best to keep backup cultures or buy a replacement.
The start of mold on the surface can be seen in the first photo. With the mold well developed
within the second picture.
The culture to the left has started to develop Penicillin mold on the upper left-hand corner, also note that culture is not thick and cream in colour. Notice the deformations on top of kombucha culture or S.C.O.B.Y.
Mold is easy to spot once you know what to look for!
These photos are from an eBay sources of kombucha and it was a very weak strain. During our testing, both these cultures, were very
susceptible to mold growth, while organic-cultures.com test cultures (not shown) did not pick up the growth of mold.
Sometimes the culture will produce
brownish streamers or what is described as a string like appearance or growth, which hangs down into the tea. This is not mold or contamination and is simply old, dead yeast cells that have completed their life cycle.
These are fine to consume, however, many people like to strain these out before bottling the finished beverage. Sometimes the mushroom itself will form a brown area by the edge of the glass, which may look like mold. This must be examined closely as this, too, may simple be dead kombucha
At other times, the mushroom culture will develop whitish coloured bumps or dark spots on the surface of the liquid. These are sometimes mistaken for mold, however, they are simply small bubbles of carbonic acid just under the newly developing skin. The new culture will continue to fill out and cover these within a few days.
Nevertheless, if you are unsure of anything or suspect something
Do NOT Drink the Tea!
Questions about mold on the kombucha culture are easy to identify once you know what to look for. Generally, anything that looks out of the ordinary should be considered contamination, removed from any other kombucha growing, and discarded. Again, the mold or bacteria can not simply be washed off.
Kombucha Regulations and Hazards From the FDA -
This subject must be addressed to insure that the consumer is informed about the potential hazards from improper brewing and handling of the cultures.
Because folk medicines and herbal remedies, including Kombucha tea, are considered neither a food nor a drug, they are not routinely evaluated by FDA or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The FDA does have kombucha regulations, warnings, and information posted in a report on the FDA web site. This report contains information about the
hazards of brewing the tea in non-glass containers mostly and a few reported cases where people have been hospitalized from not following this important
step! FDA studies have found no evidence of contamination or hazards in Kombucha products fermented under sterile conditions. At this time, there are no
regulations for producing kombucha products.
Please note: Organic-Kombucha.com is not liable or in control of the consumer’s home brewing process.
However, with care, a clean environment, and checking pH the chances of contamination are very low.
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