Innovation That Matters

The scoby | Photo source AgResearch

Kombucha could be used to clean up New Zealand’s water

Science

Researchers have found an active ingredient in kombucha that can help reduce E coli levels in dairy effluent

Spotted: A recent study from agricultural research institute AgResearch in New Zealand has found that scobys (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), which are used to make kombucha, are also effective at reducing E coli contamination from effluents coming out of dairy cow sheds. 

The research, which was carried out in a lab, found E coli contamination was reduced to undetectable levels. Along with the reduction of E coli, the experiment also found that the PH balance of the water was lowered in samples with scobys. And when the PH level of the water was controlled, the die-off of E coli in the sample wasn’t as pronounced. That in turn raises potential implications for improving freshwater health if the study’s findings were to be applied on-farm. 

However, the scientists mentioned that the conditions of the experiment are very different to those of a real life dairy farm.

This is not the first time that kombucha has been used in experiments surrounding dairy farming. A previous collaboration between Fonterra and AgResearch looked into whether it could help reduce the methane produced by cows. 

Written By: Katrina Lane

Explore more: Science Innovations | Sustainability Innovations

Email: seth.laurenson@agresearch.co.nz

Website: onlinelibrary.wiley.com

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