Material scientist Guoda Treciokaite concentrates on material design. Her work, an interdisciplinary blend of biodesign, textiles, and material innovation, sits at the crossroads of these fields. In 2020, her work earned a showcase at the Dutch Design Week, and her project, Kombutex, garnered the Circular by Design Award in Luxembourg in 2021.
The Kombutex project design and research sustainable alternatives to traditional leather, actively exploring the potential of bacterial cellulose materials. They seek collaborations with scientific research groups, aiming to discover solutions using biocoatings and nanobiotechnology.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage that originated in East Asia around 2,000 years ago. It is made by fermenting sweetened tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, often referred to as a SCOBY. The fermentation process usually takes one to two weeks, during which the sugars are consumed by the yeast and bacteria, producing a variety of compounds such as organic acids, carbon dioxide, and a small amount of alcohol. The end result is a beverage that is slightly sweet, slightly sour, and carbonated. Kombucha is often consumed for its purported health benefits, which include improved digestion, immune support, and detoxification.
SCOBY stands for “Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast”. It is the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transform sweet tea into tangy, fizzy kombucha. Think of the SCOBY as the coral reef of the bacteria and yeast world. It’s a rubbery raft that floats on the surface of the kombucha. Aside from being a home for yeast and good bacteria, the SCOBY seals off the fermenting kombucha from the air and helps protect it against unwanted bacteria and molds.
Yeast is a type of fungus that is used in making bread, beer, wine, and kombucha, among other things. Yeast is a type of fungus, and as such, it belongs to the Fungal Kingdom These microorganisms work by consuming sugars and converting them into carbon dioxide and alcohol through the process of fermentation. The carbon dioxide gas is what makes bread rise, and the alcohol produced by yeast is what gives beer and wine their alcoholic content. In the case of kombucha, the yeast works alongside bacteria in the SCOBY to ferment the sugars in the tea, producing a variety of compounds that give kombucha its unique flavor and potential health benefits. Yeasts also exist naturally on our skin and in our bodies, playing a vital role in our ecosystem.