Kombucha Mushroom also called Scoby! What is it?

Kombucha Mushroom Or Scoby?

Most likely this widely held belief that it is a Mushroom, arises from the obvious resemblance of the Scoby to a large mushroom cap. The kombucha culture is, in fact, a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. Or in short SCOBY

Mushrooms are fungi and so are yeast, so in that regard kombucha cultures and mushrooms are in the same family. But they are distant cousins, not siblings.

 The Kombucha culture – which is the living material that drives the fermentation – is called a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).

 

What exactly is a Scoby?

The Scoby is a cellulose mat that houses a mass of bacteria and yeast. The primary bacteria in a scoby is Acetobacter xylinum, which produces copious amounts of cellulose, although there could also be any of several other strains. The bacteria and yeast in a scoby depend on each other in that the by-product of the yeast fermentation feeds the bacteria and the by-product of the bacteria fermentation feeds the yeast. The matlike cellulose structure protects the ferment against infiltration by wild bacteria and yeast and from the evaporation of the liquid while holding in more of the naturally occurring carbonation.

The symbiosis between the bacteria and yeast acts like a double karate shop to pathogenic organisms that might try to invade the brew. The low ph of the starter liquid and culture disrupts the cell membranes of unwanted bacteria, while several of the healthy organic acids that create the low ph in the first place demonstrates specific antibacterial, antiviral, and other antimicrobial properties. This dual function makes kombucha even more effective as a health tonic because it reduces the already small likelihood that the brew will develop any toxins.

I hope that this was helpfull to you to understand what a Scoby is. I have sourced most of this information from “The BIG BOOK of KOMBUCHA” written by Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory. It’s a great book to read if you want to dive deep into Kombucha making.

Happy brewing

Karl