* 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, September 17, 2010

A Word On: Mold

I have been lucky in that I have never encountered mold when brewing kombucha.

Kombucha has been found to have a low rate of contamination and of mold, and has been found to be safely prepared at home (1). Kombucha's low risk of contamination results from its natural anti-microbial activity, attributed largely to the presence of acetic acid according to the Cornell study (1). Kombucha's low pH also helps to prevent undesired microorganisms from proliferating.

Remember that kombucha mushrooms come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and colors can range from creamy white to all variations of brown. And if you've never seen the development of a SCOBY completely from scratch, look at my photos from Experiment 1, Growing Your Own Kombucha Mother.

If you do suspect mold, remember that it should appear FUZZY such as the mold you see on bread.

Photos from Happy Herbalist

If your kombucha mushroom does form mold, the safest thing to do would be to throw out that batch and that mushroom, and to brew with another mushroom- another great reason to have a backup mushroom in storage. I've talked to several people who have cut off the mold-infected part of the mushroom and continued to use the rest of the SCOBY, but do this at your own discretion! If imperceptible mold spores are in the rest of the mushroom or in the brew, this could cause problems for the next batch, so you may want to start anew!

More info on mold can be found in Happy Herbalist's Brewing Guide and Kombucha Photos page.

1. Greenwalt, C.J., R.A. Ledford, and K.H. Steinkraus. "Determination and characterization of the anti-microbial activity of the fermented tea Kombucha." Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft und-Technologie 31 (3) (1998): 291-296.
-Online article link here.


Luli said...

One of the scoby I adopted started growing mold. I'm down to the one that I split way before the mold but fear it may be too old as per the other article. I'm trying to coax a baby from it.

Annabelle Ho said...

definitely try growing a baby SCOBY from your old mushroom! good luck!

Barbra Paitich said...

I'm brewing my first Kombucha. After a week of rather cool weather (50sF) I checked the container and found a thin layer of mold on top of the brew. I pulled it out with tongs, tasted the brew which was not as fizzy as the ones I've purchased.

I left it and checked it 2 days later - no more mold - tasted again... no fizz - more like cold sweet tea.

Can I use this mother again or must I use a new one? I got two from a friend. If this one is no good is it likely the second is bad too? The second one is in the fridge.

Annabelle Ho said...

Hey Barbra,

Thanks for the comment, and my apologies for the very late reply. As I mentioned in the post, use the mushroom or not at your own discretion. You can always try to use the mushroom to see if the brewing is successful, but just be cautious. If the mushroom doesn't work out, luckily you have another one in storage! If you don't feel comfortable using that mushroom again, Happy Herbalist recommends "if in doubt, throw it out." To read more about their take on mold, check out their links that I provided at the end of the post.