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Review article

Microbiota of kefir grains

Tomislav Pogačić ; Zavod za mljekarstvo, Agronomski fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, Svetošimunska 25, 10000 Zagreb, Hrvatska
Sanja Šinko
Šimun Zamberlin
Dubravka Samaržija

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Kefir grains represent the unique microbial community consisting of bacteria, yeasts, and sometimes filamentous moulds creating complex symbiotic community. The complexity of their physical and microbial structures is the reason that the kefir grains are still not unequivocally elucidated. Microbiota of kefir grains has been studied by many microbiological and molecular approaches. The development of metagenomics, based on the identification without cultivation, is opening new possibilities for identification of previously nonisolated and non-identified microbial species from the kefir grains. Considering recent studies, there are over 50 microbial species associated with kefir grains. The aim of this review is to summarise the microbiota composition of kefir grains. Moreover, because of technological and microbiological significance of the kefir grains, the paper provides an insight into the microbiological and molecular methods applied to study microbial biodiversity of kefir grains.


kefir, kefir grains, molecular methods, microbial species

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