Kombucha Cultures May Lead to Better and Sustainable Water Filters, Says Study

The healthy and refreshing kombucha tea is highly in trend these days, and it is so for good reasons! Studies have shown that along with holding a lot of health benefits, the kombucha cultures might also serve as the key to the betterment of water, with environmentally sustainable and affordable living water filtration membranes. No need to rack your brain already! Just read on to know everything.

The Finding

A study paper about this interesting find was recently published in ACS ES&T Water, the journal of the American Chemical Society. According to the paper, experiments by groups of researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) and Montana Technological University (MTU) have shown that kombucha cultures grown membranes were better than current commercial membranes in preventing the creation of biofilms, which is a major challenge in water filtration. How? Let’s get into that.

The Kombucha SCOBY

Kombucha is made by combining three basic ingredients- tea, sugar, and SCOBY. SCOBY is the kombucha culture, which stands for ‘Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.’ This culture, SCOBY, is also commonly known as tea fungus, tea mushroom, Manchurian mushroom, or the “mother.” It is believed that kombucha tea originated from Manchuria in China or Russia. This SCOBY is a collection of jelly-like, but firm cellulose fiber or biofilm, which acts like a sourdough starter. The active bacteria in the culture create the perfect ground for the yeast to breed.

The Filtration Property

Now, this kombucha culture is the one, which is highly potent as a useful biomaterial. Last year, scientists created a new type of tougher “living material” out of kombucha SCOBYs, which can be used as biosensors to detect damage in water or other packaged drinks. The team engineered the cells of the lab-grown SCOBY yeast to produce bioluminescent enzymes. These enzymes are capable of sensing pollutants in water. They also help in breaking them down after detection. As a result, now there is the prospect of developing SCOBY-based water filters, which will be more enhanced than the polymer-based commercial filters, in the process of purifying contaminated drinking water.

Just Sent A Whatsapp Text to Someone? Facebook Probably Read It!

Facebook acquired internet-based messaging platform Whatsapp in 2014, and since then it has been re-tweaking its features to enhance its global popularity. As of July 2021, two billion people were using the messenger on the monthly basis. Had Whatsapp been a country, it would have been one of the heavily populated countries in the world.

Facebook’s Stance on The Issue

Facebook had time and again maintained the stand that it doesn’t – and cannot read the messages sent between the users of Whatsapp owing to its end-to-end encryption feature. But, the latest investigation by ProPublica suggests that Facebook’s claims are nothing, but a giant farce. The investigative report goes on to say that Facebook is spending millions to read the messages sent over Whatsapp and to moderate the content therein. As per the report’s findings, California headquartered multinational technology firm, employs a staff size of more than a thousand across Austin, Texas, Dublin, and Singapore solely for this purpose.

The Big Picture

These contractors spend their day sieving in the pieces of content. Something, Facebook strongly denies about. As per its spokesperson, Facebook can only access Whatsapp messages, when a user hits the report abuse button. This feature, as per the spokesperson, helps in improving the quality of messages, cleanliness of the platform and minimizes threats to a considerable extent. Recently, Whatsapp using several forms of communication such as advertisements has stressed its end-to-end encryption aspect. It has emphasized the fact that the texts can be scrambled and unscrambled by the sender and receiver. The now updated ProPublica report also mentions that the company acknowledged using the services of Whatsapp Content Moderators, only when a red flag was raised. Facebook’s definition of content moderation looks arbitrary on the surface, but at the core, it is designed to safeguard a user’s privacy – even from Facebook.