Kombucha is sweeten black or green tea that is made through fermentation of black or green tea using acetic acid bacteria (AAB) cultures and yeast (Sknepnek et al., 2018). It has many health benefits such as detoxification, improves digestion, immune system stimulation, and cholesterol reduction. According to an experiment that was conducted to see the effectiveness of Chinese herbal kombucha and non-Chinese herbal kombucha in treating silica dust that was injected into the mice’s lungs, the result shows that the mice that were being treated with Chinese herbal kombucha and non-Chinese herbal kombucha contain the least amount of silica dust after the experiment, which shows that Chinese herbal kombucha is effective at reducing lung collagen content and can be used as a treatment for silicosis and other pneumoconiosis diseases(Fu et al., 2013).
However, despite Kombucha’s popularity and health benefits, serious side effects and occasional deaths have been associated with drinking Kombucha tea. A real-life example that portrays Kombucha’s serious side effects is when a 54-year-old woman was sent to the hospital due to severe metabolic lactic acidosis(a medical condition when the amount of lactate in the body leading up to an excessively low pH in the bloodstream). Examination result shows that she drank kombucha tea, which has been linked to lactic acidosis. In the end, She made a full recovery by stop drinking kombucha tea (Holbourn et al., 2013). The reason that Kombucha leads to lactic acidosis is that it forces the body to expel its acids before expel other stored acid in the body and lead to slowing down the process for the body to make byproducts and lead to lactic acid buildup and result in lactic acidosis.
Usually, Kombucha beverage is obtained through the process of fermentation of sweetened green or black teas but it is Kombucha’s antimicrobial activity is its main difference from other traditional beverages. Researchers tested the antimicrobial activity of several Kombucha tea and find it has the ability to fight against Candidiasis which is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida (Villarreal?Soto et al., 2018). Early research on Kombucha suggest that it has antimicrobial activity against lots of other organisms as well as its unfermented tea components (Determination and Characterization of the Antimicrobial Activity of the Fermented Tea Kombucha 2012)Research has also shown that Kombucha’s anti-microbial activity attributes to its acetic acid content.
Acetic acid can be used to treat obesity. Researchers have shown that when obesity-linked type 2 diabetic Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats take in acetic acid, it actually helps them fight against obesity through stop the process of accumulating lipid in the liver and abdominal fat (Yamashita 2016).
However, there is a risk when brewing kombucha, because through the process of fermentation there are lots of harmful contaminants found in Kombucha including mold. Researchers have shown that there are some cases where there are contaminants in Kombucha. In one case, there are massive contamination with Penicillium spp in the Kombucha sample, and in other two cases, the remaining two Kombucha samples contains Candida albicans (Mayser et al., 1995). Contamination also lead to many cases of allergic infections and even death. In one case, a 58-year-old woman was admitted to hospital after overconsumption of Kombucha tea that suggests hepatotoxicity. In addition, there is a possibility of contamination with spores from bacteria, because ingredients used for preparing Kombucha are passed from one user to another. The result shows that, the PH level of the tea becomes 1.8 in 24 hours while brewing which suggests its acidity and the possible presence of contamination.
The purpose of my research is to limit the number of bacteria and molds presented in Kombucha through the process of killing and inhibiting the growth of microorganisms including bacterias which will lead to a decrease of allergic reactions relating to consumption of Kombucha. My hypothesis is that if the number of bacteria and mold in Kombucha are limited, then there will be less allergic reactions that will occur in the future. The process of killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria is essential in this experiment and it can be achieved through a thermal process such as heat sterilization and using a static agent to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
The amount of mold will be measured in Kombucha by placing a transparent centimeter grid over the samples and record the length and width of the mold. Then we will be using the heat sterilization method, which is heating up the tea in 160 °C (320 °F) for 2 hours and along the heat to pass along from the exterior surface to the interior part and reaches the proper temperature needed to achieve sterilization. Then, the amount of mold will be measured and recorded again. Data will be created to show the trend between the number of the mold before and after the heat sterilization. Then, we will be conducting allergy reaction test on 30 people using the skin test which is a method when you put a drop of watery solution containing allergens ( kombucha in this case) on different marked positions on your skin. A lancet is then used to prick the subject’s skin which allows allergens to enter the skin. Then we will wait and see if the person is allergic to Kombucha or not by observing any red or a small bump on the marked site (What kinds of allergy tests are there? 2016 ).