Kombucha is a beverage of probable Manchurian origins obtained from fermented tea by a microbial consortium composed of several bacteria and yeasts. This mixed consortium forms a powerful symbiosis capable of inhibiting the growth of potentially contaminating bacteria. The fermentation process also leads to the formation of a polymeric cellulose pellicle due to the activity of certain strains of Acetobacter sp. The tea fermentation process by the microbial consortium was able to show an increase in certain biological activities which have been already studied; however, little information is available on the characterization of its active components and their evolution during fermentation. Studies have also reported that the use of infusions from other plants may be a promising alternative.
Practical application: Kombucha is a traditional fermented tea whose consumption has increased in the recent years due to its multiple functional properties such as anti-inflammatory potential and antioxidant activity. The microbiological composition of this beverage is quite complex and still more research is needed in order to fully understand its behavior. This study comprises the chemical and microbiological composition of the tea and the main factors that may affect its production.
Keywords: bioactivity; fermentation; kombucha tea; microbial cellulose; symbiosis.
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