An update on water kefir

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Date
2021-03-03
Authors
Lynch, Kieran M.
Wilkinson, Stuart
Daenen, Luk
Arendt, Elke K.
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Elsevier B.V.
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Abstract
Water kefir is a sparkling, slightly acidic fermented beverage produced by fermenting a solution of sucrose, to which dried fruits have been added, with water kefir grains. These gelatinous grains are a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast embedded in a polysaccharide matrix. Lactic acid bacteria, yeast and acetic acid bacteria are the primary microbial members of the sugary kefir grain. Amongst other contributions, species of lactic acid bacteria produce the exopolysaccharide matrix from which the kefir grain is formed, while yeast assist the bacteria by a nitrogen source that can be assimilated. Exactly which species predominate within the grain microbiota, however, appears to be dependent on the geographical origin of the grains and the fermentation substrate and conditions. These factors ultimately affect the characteristics of the beverage produced in terms of aroma, flavour, and acidity, for example, but can also be controlled and exploited in the production of a beverage of desired characteristics. The production of water kefir has traditionally occurred on a small scale and the use of defined starter cultures is not commonly practiced. However, as water kefir increases in popularity as a beverage - in part because of consumer lifestyle trends and in part due to water kefir being viewed as a health drink with its purported health benefits â the need for a thorough understanding of the biology and dynamics of water kefir, and for defined and controlled production processes, will ultimately increase. The aim of this review is to provide an update into the current knowledge of water kefir.
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Keywords
Water kefir , Beverage , Fermentation , Tibicos , Tibi
Citation
Lynch, K. M., Wilkinson, S., Daenen, L. and Arendt, E. K. (2021) 'An update on water kefir', International Journal of Food Microbiology. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2021.109128