Tibicos

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Fermented water kefir with grains on the bottom and a floating piece of grapefruit peel Ripe Water kefir (also known as Tibicos), after 2 days.jpg
Fermented water kefir with grains on the bottom and a floating piece of grapefruit peel
Tibicos grains average 5 millimetres (0.20 in) in dimension. Wasserkefir-Kristalle.jpg
Tibicos grains average 5 millimetres (0.20 in) in dimension.

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.

Contents

Cultures

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." [1] [2]

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.

Origin

The origin of tibicos grains is unknown. [3] Tibicos grains form as hard granules on the pads of the Opuntia cactus found in Mexico. [2] These granules then could be reconstituted in a sugar-water solution for propagating the tibicos grains. [3] [4] Another study found a similar tibicos culture made from a bacteria cultured from known stocks with similar properties. [5]

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, [6] and Balm of Gilead. [3] [7] Pidoux in 1898 also identified the sugary kefir grains with the ginger beer plant. [2] 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. [8] 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." [7]

Preparation

Tibicos colony under microscope (200x) Kefir wodny (Tibicos).jpg
Tibicos colony under microscope (200×)

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 68°-85°F (20°-30°C). If the temperature is closer to the 85 degree range, the fermentation period is shortened. [9] A typical recipe might contain the tibicos culture, a citrus 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 minimized, since the acidity of the solution will draw these metals out, damaging 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 wooden utensils when handling the grains.


See also

Related Research Articles

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Symbiotic fermentation is a form of fermentation in which multiple organisms interact 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.

Jun, or Xun, is a fermented drink similar to kombucha, differing only in that its base ingredients are green tea and honey instead of black tea and cane sugar. Jun's origins have not been conclusively proven, but it is thought to have roots in Tibet and northern China. Jun is brewed by fermenting green tea with a symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria (SCOBY). Fruits, sweeteners, spices, and other flavor enhancers are also commonly added to make the taste of the beverage more appealing. Jun is not as popular as kombucha or other similar fermented drinks, so the commercial market for it is much smaller. Because there are not many companies selling it, and the brewing process is rather simple, many consumers of Jun choose to make it themselves. Many health benefits have been credited to Jun and fermented drinks in general, but these are unproven. Any health effects stemming directly from Jun as a whole have not been researched or conclusively substantiated, but some of Jun's main ingredients have been shown to individually have positive effects on the human body. Though Jun bears similarities to other fermented drinks like kombucha, water kefir, and kvass, it has enough differences to be considered a distinct drink.

References

  1. Horisberger, M.; Bauer, H.; Bauer, Heinz (December 1980). "The structural organization of the Tibi grain as revealed by light, scanning and transmission microscopy". Archives of Microbiology. 128 (2): 157–161. doi:10.1007/BF00406153.
  2. 1 2 3 Pidoux, M. (June 1989). "The microbial flora of sugary kefir grain (the gingerbeer plant): biosynthesis of the grain from Lactobacillus hilgardii producing a polysaccharide gel". World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. 5 (2): 223–38. doi:10.1007/BF01741847.
  3. 1 2 3 Laureys, David; De Vuyst, Luc (April 2014). "Microbial Species Diversity, Community Dynamics, and Metabolite Kinetics of Water Kefir Fermentation". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 80 (8): 2564–2572. doi:10.1128/AEM.03978-13. ISSN   0099-2240. PMC   3993195 . PMID   24532061.
  4. Lutz, L. (1899). "Recherches biologiques sur la constitution du Tibi". Bull. Soc. Mycol. France. 15: 68–72.
  5. Stacey, M.; Youd, F. R. (November 1938). "A note on the dextran produced from sucrose by Betacoccus arabinosaceous haemolyticus". Biochem. J. 32 (11): 1943–1945. doi:10.1042/bj0321943. PMC   1264277 . PMID   16746830.
  6. Sopp, J.O. (1917). Hjemmelagning av øl og vin. Kristiania, Norway: Norli. p. 83.
  7. 1 2 Kebler, L. F. (June 1921). "California bees" (PDF). J. Pharm. Sci. 10 (12): 939–943. doi:10.1002/jps.3080101206.
  8. http://www.cabdirect.org/abstracts/19950314684.html;jsessionid=DC91A19C32DD763E770932398B531AFB
  9. https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/water-kefir/encouraging-water-kefir-grains-to-multiply/