Tibicos, or water kefir, is a traditional fermented drink made with water and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts (SCOBY) held in a polysaccharide biofilm matrix created by the bacteria. It is sometimes consumed as an alternative to milk-based probiotic drinks or tea-cultured products such as kombucha. Water kefir is typically made as a probiotic homebrew beverage. The finished product, if bottled, will produce a carbonated beverage.
Tibicos cultures are found around the world, with no two being exactly the same; but typical tibicos have a mix of Lactobacillus , Streptococcus , Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria, with yeasts from Saccharomyces , Candida , Kloeckera and possibly others. Lactobacillus brevis bacteria has been identified as the species responsible for the production of the dextran polysaccharide that forms the "grains".
As with milk kefir "grains", the microbes present in tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture. Tibicos can do this in many different sugary liquids, feeding off the sugar to produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide gas, which carbonates the drink.
The origin of tibicos grains is not known exactly.The grains called ginger beer plant , which according to Martinus Beijerinck were brought by the British soldiers while returning to their country from the Crimean War in 1855 (although this was dismissed as an unsubstantiated myth by Harry Marshall Ward as early as 1892 and its real origins remain a mystery), were defined by Harry Marshall Ward as "beverage containing a symbiotic mixture of yeast and bacteria, and containing sufficient amounts of nitrogenous organic matter and beet sugar or cane sugar in its aqueous solution". This description is probably the first published account of the water kefir culture. As a different theory, Lutz (1899) reported "Tibi grains" which were plucked from the leaves of a Mexican cactus ( Opuntia ). These granules then could be reconstituted in a sugar-water solution for propagating the tibicos grains. Another study found a similar tibicos culture made from bacteria cultured from known stocks with similar properties.
Tibicos are also known as tibi, water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals and California bees, and in older literature as bébées, African bees, Australian bees, ginger bees, vinegar bees, bees, Japanese beer seeds, beer seeds, beer plant, ale nuts, eternity grains,and Balm of Gilead. Pidoux in 1898 also identified the sugary kefir grains with the ginger beer plant. Different ingredients or hygienic conditions might also change the bacteriological composition possibly leading to the different names found in scientific literature.
Tibicos are used to brew a variety of tepache known as tepache de tibicos.The ginger beer plant is also a form of tibicos. Kebler attests that they were used in Kentucky circa 1859 to brew a "home drink" and were referred to as "Japanese beer seeds."
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The basic preparation method is for tibicos to be added to a sugary liquid and fermented 24 to 48 hours. The water is kept at a room temperature range of 20–30 °C (70–85 °F). If the temperature is towards the upper end of this range, the fermentation period is shortened. A typical recipe might contain the tibicos culture, a citrus fruit, dried fruit, and water. Some ingredients will inhibit fermentation, such as chlorine in tap water or preservatives in dried fruit (sulfites). The fruits used are changed and mixed to create different flavors.
Additional precautions are taken to keep the cultures healthy. The use of reactive metals such as aluminium, copper, or zinc are minimised. The acidity of the solution will react with the metals forming metal ions, which could be potentially damaging to the culture. Instead, plastic, lead-free ceramic, or glass containers are commonly used. It is recommended to culture grains in a glass jar and use clean plastic or silicone utensils when handling the grains.
Researchers demonstrated antimicrobial activity during tibicos fermentation, using tibicos grains to ferment different sugar sources, namely, molasses, demerara sugar, and brown sugar. Brown sugar promoted the greatest antimicrobial activities, against the microorganisms Candida albicans , Salmonella typhi , Shigella sonnei , Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli .
For tibicos grains to grow, a certain water buffer capacity and/or calcium concentration are required.If necessary, buffer capacity can be improved by adding some hydrogen carbonate-rich mineral water.
Yeasts are eukaryotic, single-celled microorganisms classified as members of the fungus kingdom. The first yeast originated hundreds of millions of years ago, and at least 1,500 species are currently recognized. They are estimated to constitute 1% of all described fungal species.
Sourdough or sourdough bread is a bread made by the fermentation of dough using wild lactobacillaceae and yeast. Lactic acid from fermentation imparts a sour taste and improves keeping qualities.
Lactobacillus is a genus of gram-positive, aerotolerant anaerobes or microaerophilic, rod-shaped, non-spore-forming bacteria. Until 2020, the genus Lactobacillus comprised over 260 phylogenetically, ecologically, and metabolically diverse species; a taxonomic revision of the genus assigned lactobacilli to 25 genera.
Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavoured with ginger. It is consumed on its own or used as a mixer, often with spirit-based drinks. There are two main types of ginger ale. The golden style is credited to the Irish doctor Thomas Joseph Cantrell. The dry style, a paler drink with a much milder ginger flavour, was created by Canadian John McLaughlin.
Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black tea drink. Sometimes the beverage is called kombucha tea to distinguish it from the culture of bacteria and yeast. Juice, spices, fruit or other flavorings are often added.
Traditional ginger beer is a sweetened and carbonated, usually non-alcoholic beverage. Historically it was produced by the natural fermentation of prepared ginger spice, yeast and sugar.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a rod-shaped, Gram-positive, homofermentative, anaerobic microbe first isolated from infant feces in the year 1900. The species is most commonly found in humans, specifically the gastrointestinal tract, oral cavity, and vagina, as well as various fermented foods such as fermented milk or yogurt. The species most readily grows at low pH levels, and has an optimum growth temperature of 37 °C. Certain strains of L. acidophilus show strong probiotic effects, and are commercially used in dairy production. The genome of L. acidophilus has been sequenced.
Viili (Finnish) is a mesophilic fermented milk product found in the Nordic countries, particularly Finland. Viili is similar to yoghurt or kefir, but when left unmixed, its texture is malleable, or "long". The metabolism of the bacteria used in the fermentation also gives viili a slightly different taste.
Industrial fermentation is the intentional use of fermentation in manufacturing processes. In addition to the mass production of fermented foods and drinks, industrial fermentation has widespread applications in chemical industry. Commodity chemicals, such as acetic acid, citric acid, and ethanol are made by fermentation. Moreover, nearly all commercially produced industrial enzymes, such as lipase, invertase and rennet, are made by fermentation with genetically modified microbes. In some cases, production of biomass itself is the objective, as is the case for single-cell proteins, baker's yeast, and starter cultures for lactic acid bacteria used in cheesemaking.
Lactobacillales are an order of gram-positive, low-GC, acid-tolerant, generally nonsporulating, nonrespiring, either rod-shaped (bacilli) or spherical (cocci) bacteria that share common metabolic and physiological characteristics. These bacteria, usually found in decomposing plants and milk products, produce lactic acid as the major metabolic end product of carbohydrate fermentation, giving them the common name lactic acid bacteria (LAB).
In food processing, fermentation is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids using microorganisms—yeasts or bacteria—under anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions. Fermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desired. The science of fermentation is known as zymology or zymurgy.
Food microbiology is the study of the microorganisms that inhabit, create, or contaminate food. This includes the study of microorganisms causing food spoilage; pathogens that may cause disease ; microbes used to produce fermented foods such as cheese, yogurt, bread, beer, and wine; and microbes with other useful roles, such as producing probiotics.
Levilactobacillus brevis is a gram-positive, rod shaped species of lactic acid bacteria which is heterofermentative, creating CO2, lactic acid and acetic acid or ethanol during fermentation. L. brevis is the type species of the genus Levilactobacillus (previously L. brevis group), which comprises 24 species. It can be found in many different environments, such as fermented foods, and as normal microbiota. L. brevis is found in food such as sauerkraut and pickles. It is also one of the most common causes of beer spoilage. Ingestion has been shown to improve human immune function, and it has been patented several times. Normal gut microbiota L. brevis is found in human intestines, vagina, and feces.
Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) is a culinary symbiotic fermentation culture (starter) consisting of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), acetic acid bacteria (AAB), and yeast which arises in the preparation of sour foods and beverages such as kombucha. Beer and wine also undergo fermentation with yeast, but the lactic acid bacteria and acetic acid bacteria components unique to SCOBY are usually viewed as a source of spoilage rather than a desired addition. Both LAB and AAB enter on the surface of barley and malt in beer fermentation and grapes in wine fermentation; LAB lowers the pH of the beer/wine while AAB takes the ethanol produced from the yeast and oxidizes it further into vinegar, resulting in a sour taste and smell. AAB are also responsible for the formation of the cellulose SCOBY.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt or ayran that is made from kefir grains, a specific type of mesophilic symbiotic culture. It is prepared by inoculating the milk of cows, goats, or sheep with kefir grains.
Biopreservation is the use of natural or controlled microbiota or antimicrobials as a way of preserving food and extending its shelf life. The biopreservation of food, especially utilizing lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that are inhibitory to food spoilage microbes, has been practiced since early ages, at first unconsciously but eventually with an increasingly robust scientific foundation. Beneficial bacteria or the fermentation products produced by these bacteria are used in biopreservation to control spoilage and render pathogens inactive in food. There are a various modes of action through which microorganisms can interfere with the growth of others such as organic acid production, resulting in a reduction of pH and the antimicrobial activity of the un-dissociated acid molecules, a wide variety of small inhibitory molecules including hydrogen peroxide, etc. It is a benign ecological approach which is gaining increasing attention.
Microbial food cultures are live bacteria, yeasts or moulds used in food production. Microbial food cultures carry out the fermentation process in foodstuffs. Used by humans since the Neolithic period fermentation helps to preserve perishable foods and to improve their nutritional and organoleptic qualities. As of 1995, fermented food represented between one quarter and one third of food consumed in Central Europe. More than 260 different species of microbial food culture are identified and described for their beneficial use in fermented food products globally, showing the importance of their use.
Symbiotic fermentation is a form of fermentation in which multiple organisms interact in symbiosis in order to produce the desired product. For example, a yeast may produce ethanol, which is then consumed by an acetic acid bacterium. Described early on as the fermentation of sugars following saccharification in a mixed fermentation process.
Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens is a species of slime-forming, homofermentative, rod-shaped lactic acid bacteria first isolated from kefir grains, hence its name. Its type strain is WT-2B. Its genome has been sequenced. Lactobaccillus kefiranofaciens was first identified in 1967 in Russia through studying kefir granules. Lactobaccillus kefiranofaciens is part of the lactobacillus genus and firmicutes phylum of bacteria. These bacterium metabolize carbohydrates and produce lactic acid, which can be useful in fermentation. Two subspecies have been identified as kefirgranum and kefiranofaciens, which share properties such as being gram-positive, facultatively anaerobic, and rod-shaped.L. kefiranofaciens is the subspecies related to kefir granules. Studies have investigated the origins and causes for variation in kefir composition and led to conflicting results. Some studies indicate the presence of L.kefiranofaciens was due to geographical location, while others indicate it was due to the different milks used.
Bees wine, also known as "beeswine", "bee wine" and by a variety of other local names, was a home-brewed "folk" alcoholic drink popular during the late 19th and early 20th century particularly in rural areas of the United States and United Kingdom. It was produced using the fermentation of sugar, treacle or molasses by a symbiotic culture of wild yeasts and bacteria.