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A SCOBY used for brewing kombucha.

A SCOBY (or SCOBAY) (for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is a syntrophic mixed culture of yeast and bacteria used in production of several traditional foods and beverages.


Composition and actionEdit

The species comprising the mixed cultures vary from preparation to preparation, but generally include Acetobacter bacterial species, as well as various Saccharomyces and other yeast types.

Within a culture, anaerobic ethanol fermentation (by yeast), anaerobic organic acid fermentation (by bacteria), and aerobic ethanol oxidation to acetate (by bacteria) can all take place concurrently along an oxygen gradient.

A gelatinous, cellulose-based biofilm called a pellicle forms at the air-liquid interface and is also sometimes referred to as a "scoby". Either samples of this pellicle or unpasteurized kombucha can be used similarly to mother of vinegar to begin fermentation in pasteurized sweet tea.[1]

A group of Kombucha scobies

Scoby cultures used in beverage production can produce a pancake-sized dish-like structure that looks somewhat like the top of a mushroom, hence its nickname "mushroom". It often forms in vinegar in jars of pickled foods.[2]

Use in food productionEdit

Foods and beverages which require a similar "symbiotic culture" in their production include:

Use in clothing productionEdit

Queensland University of Technology and the State Library of Queensland have been using kombucha scoby to produce a workable bio-textile, called a "vegan leather".[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Fermentation Revival". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Definition of KOMBUCHA". Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  3. ^ Mitchell-Whittington, Amy. "QUT and State Library leading the way in 'vegan leather'". Retrieved 5 August 2016.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit