Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

College

College of Arts & Sciences

Department

Math & Science

Degree Name

Biology, BA

First Supervisor

Mihail Iordanov, Ph.D.

Keywords

Kombucha, yeast, pellicle, cellulose, metabolism, sugar, acidophilic, morphology

Abstract

The process of fermentation is an ancient science, but one that not been immune to contemporary innovation and development. Genetic analyses of yeast strains have been able to show and predict enzyme activity across a wide variety of temperatures, pH levels, and nutrient concentrations. However, most studies on the acidophilic yeast found in kombucha use either sucrose or the immediate byproducts of it’s metabolism: glucose and fructose as nutrient sources. This study looks at the impact of six different saccharide compounds on the morphology of yeast, and 15 different saccharide compounds as they impact the development of a cellulose pellicle in a kombucha culture. Agar plating was utilized to assess macroscopic patterns, and microscope slides were developed to look at yeast morphology. Results showed significant differences in yeast morphology and metabolic activity. Pellicles grown in various sugars also exhibited unique differences, some of which were able to be correlated with yeast activity. Some possible mechanisms for the observed differences are offered, though more research with a wider variety of analytical tools is required to identify precise relationships between the yeast and the nutrient compounds.

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