Researchers in Ireland, having carefully observed the microbial populations in Kefir, now claim they have been able to successfully match-up individual species of bacteria with corresponding flavor compounds.
By tracking changes the microbes underwent during fermentation, the scientists were able to confirm these connections, though the precise nature of the relationship still remains a mystery.
One microbe, known to investigators only as Acetobacter pasteurianus, has been shown to have significant ties to an acidic, vinegary flavor.
Another, who goes by the moniker Lb. kefiranofaciens, is known to be associated with a slightly cheesy aftertaste. Other microbial species were found colluding with unspecified groups of metabolites related to buttery and fruity flavors.
The investigation alo brings to light a new understanding of microbial evolution during fermentation that allowa researchers to customize the flavors of various fermented beverages including Beer, Kombucha, and Cider.
The culture of Kefir, with its brief 24 hour fermentation period, provides researchers the ideal laboratory in which to study the often related microbial communities that thrive in both the stomach and the soil.