* Please note that this blog remains up as a resource. However, this blog is currently on hiatus until further notice. For more information, please read this blog post. Thank you and happy kombucha brewing, drinking, and SCOBY trading! Lots of love. ~Annabelle *

Friday, November 20, 2009

Experiment 2, Continued: Cutting the Kombucha Mother

I am happy to say that I was successful in growing a full SCOBY from a cut kombucha mother! However, this is only the beginning.

The cut kombucha mother (on the right) and newborn SCOBY (on the left) after 9 days of fermentation and around 1.5 cups of kombucha brew.

Day 9

The kombucha segment was a quarter of a SCOBY that had a radius of around 6 cm. So, the area of the cut kombucha mother was around 28 cm^2. Meanwhile, the new SCOBY that it grew had a radius of around 4 cm, with an area of around 50 cm^2 (the area of a circle = pi*radius*radius). The thicknesses of the cut kombucha mother and the new kombucha mushroom were both around 1/8-1/4 in (.32 - .64 cm), and the final brew had a pH of around 2.5-3.5.

Day 8

In his book, I found that Gunther Frank advises to cut kombucha mothers into pieces of around 6 cm in diameter (p. 86). And one experiment performed by the two Russian scientists Sakaryan and Danielova (1948) in Frank's book touches on the subject of the quantity of kombucha culture in relation to the volume of kombucha brew (p. 89-90):
  • Five glass containers of the same size were filled with 100, 250, 500, 750, and 1000 mL of nutrient solution, and equal pieces of kombucha culture were put in each of the containers
  • On the 5th, 8th, and 18th day, all of the containers had equal pH values
  • On the 8th day, the container with 100 mL of nutrient solution had the most activity against disease bacteria, while the other samples with varying amounts of kombucha brew were equally effective against disease bacteria
  • Conclusions from the study: the activity against disease bacteria is almost independent to the volume of kombucha brew. While different strengths of antimicrobial activity may be more apparent during the first couple of days of fermentation among kombucha brews of varying volumes, these differences in antimicrobial activity may be evened out over longer periods of time of 8-18 days.
  • Frank's conclusions: Because there doesn't seem to be an advantage in putting large amounts of kombucha culture in one container, it is advised to part with older cultures over time, "always to use one of the youngest," and there's no advantage to being excessive.
What do I do?
  • I typically brew with 1-3 mushrooms in a container, depending on the size of the container, the volume of brew, and the thickness of my mushrooms. I have found that my kombucha mushrooms don't appreciate being very crowded, and you will learn to make your own adjustments with experience!

Day 5

Nevertheless, I realized that the kombucha baby that I grew wasn't that much bigger than it's kombucha mother. In addition, the cut kombucha mother was only fermenting a small volume of brew, around 1.5 cups. So, I decided to take on Part 2 of Cutting the Kombucha Mother! This week, I will be brewing 6 cups of kombucha tea with the same kombucha fragment that I used last week (area: 28 cm^2), and in a bigger container with a diameter of 12.5 cm. (So, the new kombucha mushroom that grows should have an area of around 122.7 cm^2). Stay tuned!

Frank, Gunther W. Kombucha - Healthy beverage and natur
al remedy from the Far East. 4th ed. Austria: Wilhelm Ennsthaler, 1994.

1 comment:

PovertyJane said...

This is great! I was wondering if you could successfully cut a mother a brew a baby. I have managed to grow a baby just from a starter batch.