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Thursday, April 6 • 2:30pm - 4:00pm
The Pursuit of Happiness: Determining the Ideal Time Point for Enriching Kombucha with Psychobiotics

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The Albany County Downtown Clinic (DTC), based in Laramie, encounters many patients struggling with diseases like obesity, chronic pain, and psychological disorders. The most common of these psychological disorders are depression and anxiety (Anne Marie Hart, 2016). Recent research shows that particular probiotics work as adjuvants with already known medications for anxiety and depression, in order to improve communication between the gut and the brain (Pirbaglou et al. 2016). This research addresses the question of how to successfully brew kombucha, a fermented probiotic drink, with additive microbes, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus helveticus, and Bifidobacterium longum, which have all been associated with positive communication between the gut microbiota and the brain; ultimately, balancing mood (Zhou et al. 2015). Although a probiotic pill containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus helveticus, and Bifidobacterium longum exists which is called Essential Probiotics, an easy to make and affordable food product that contains these probiotics does not. In fact, after searching PubMed, there are no articles that have been found that augment kombucha with these specific probiotics, making this a novel idea. Thus, the Microbiology Capstone Fall 2016 semester class designed to augment the existing SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) of kombucha by adding a mood enhancing probiotic pill that already exists on the market. The kombucha was augmented with psychobiotics: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus helveticus, and Bifidobacterium longum, all contained within the mood enhancing probiotic pill. Psychobiotics are defined as live organisms that provide health benefits in patients suffering from psychiatric illness (Tang et al. 2014). In order to assess this, the microbiology techniques of isolation, enumeration, and quantitative comparison were used. Once a psychobiotic kombucha was generated in the laboratory, the psychobiotics were isolated from the drink by using selective media, and later enumerated. A control kombucha was also brewed in the laboratory and characterized by pH and overall taste. Finally, the control characterization of kombucha was later compared to the psychobiotic kombucha. Although the psychobiotics did not grow to an efficacious and active titer in the kombucha, a fully functional recipe for kombucha was created. We are planning to pass on our knowledge to the DTC so that their patients can brew an easy to make, affordable kombucha at home. We plan to conduct probiotic education classes at the Downtown Clinic so that we can share the importance of probiotics and how they can benefit mood, and the overall wellbeing of patients with anxiety and depression.

Hart, AM (2016, September 21). Personal Interview.

Pirbaglou Meysam, Katz Joel, Souza Russell, J. de Souza, Stearns Jennifer C., Mehras Motamed, Ritvo Paul, “Probiotic supplementation can positively affect anxiety and depressive symptoms: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials,” NutritionResearch., 36(2016)888-889.

Zhou Linghong, Jane A Foster, “Psychobiotics and the gut–brain axis: in the pursuit of happiness, “Psychobiotics and the gut–brain axis: in the pursuit of happiness,” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment., 11(2015) 715–723.

Tang Fengyi, Reddy Bhaskara L., Sair, Milton H. Jr., “Psychobiotics and Their
Involvement in Mental Health”, J Mol Microbiol Biotechnol 201

Thursday April 6, 2017 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Union 3rd Floor Hallway

Attendees (2)