Fermenting Scobys (Symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeasts)

Jane Fox started fermenting Scobys about 15 years ago when making the probiotic-tea Kombucha. A Scoby is a gelatinous form of beneficial microbes (symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeasts).

During the brewing of Kombucha the Scoby thrives on sweet black tea and produces lactic acid. The ‘Mother’ Scoby grows microbial cellulose. The growth of this cellulose material is self-sustaining as long as the Scobys are fed and kept warm.

Jane is growing microbial cellulose to make sculpture.

It is used for clothing, and shoes – a form of vegan leather. The cellulose can be cut, stitched, moulded, layered, pressed to shape, dried and baked. It shrinks on drying and can be coloured. The cellulose can be dyed with plant dyes.