Gluconacetobacter kombuchae

From Microbial Ecology and Evolution Lab Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Scientific Classification [1]

Domain: Bacteria

Phylum: Proteobacteria

Class: Alphaproteobacteria

Order: Rhodospirillales

Family: Acetobacteraceae

Genus: Gluconacetobacter

Species: G. kombuchae


G. kombuchae cells are gram-negative, obligate aerobic bacteria that were originally discovered in Kombucha tea cultures in 2007 [2]. Gluconacetobacter are a genus of acetic acid bacteria, in that they oxidize ethanol to acetic acid. This function is key in the production of Kombucha tea, oxidizing the yeast-produced ethanol to acetic acid and other acids and giving the drink its distinctive vinegar-like flavor[3]. Other strains in the Gluconacetobacter genus, such as Gluconacetobacter intermedius and Gluconacetobacter sacchari, have been isolated from Kombucha[1]. Within the Acetobacteraceae family, several members are cellulose-producers, while only seven to date fix nitrogen[2]. G. kombuchae is the first instance of a strain in the family that can both produce cellulose and fix nitrogen[2].


The closest neighbors phylogenetically to G. kombuchae are other cellulose producing strains G. hansenii (99.1%) and G. entanii (98.6%)[2]. The major difference between these strains is G. kombuchae’s ability to fix nitrogen[2]. G. kombuchae was found to possess the nifH gene responsible for encoding dinitrogenase reductase; a key component of nitrogenase enzyme complex[2]. Some research has suggested that G. kombuchae and G. hansenii may not be truly distinct, but instead are heterotypic synonyms[4].


G. kombuchae cells are straight rods, approximately 2.0–3.0 mm length and 0.1–0.2 mm wide, and are found both singly or in bunches[2]. They are motile cells, utilizing polar flagellation[2]. Their colonies, when grown on LGI plates, are smooth, round, dull, dry, white and opaque, 0.5–1.0 mm in diameter after being incubated for 5 days[2].

Growth in Culture

G. kombuchae growth is supported by L-Alanine solely as the source of carbon and nitrogen in LGI[2]. It can also be supported by L-cysteine and L-threonine as carbon and nitrogen sources[2]. It can utilize D-arabinose, D-mannitol, D-sorbitol, and glycerol in the absence of yeast extract, and grows in both 30% glucose and sucrose[2]. To differentiate G. kombuchae from G. hansenii in growth, one can utilize sorbitol as the only carbon source, or else not utilize ethanol, mannitol, and sucrose as carbon sources[2]. To differentiate it from G. entanii, utilizing sorbitol as the only carbon source is effective, as is growing without acetic acid and with D-mannitol[2]. It grows ideally between 2.5 and 6.0 pH[1].


G. kombuchae, along with other members of the Gluconacetobacter genus such as G. hansenii and G. sacchari, have been proposed to be potential factories in the production of bacterial cellulose[5][6]. G. hansenii, the closest related strain to G. kombuchae (and proposed potential synonym) has been grown in media partly consisting of corn steep liquor as a nitrogen source to reduce production costs in growing bacterial cellulose[5].


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sievers, M.; Swings, J. Gluconacetobacter. In Bergey’s Manual of Systematics of Archaea and Bacteria; American Cancer Society, 2015; pp 1–11.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Dutta, D.; Gachhui, R. Nitrogen-Fixing and Cellulose-Producing Gluconacetobacter Kombuchae Sp. Nov., Isolated from Kombucha Tea. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 2007, 57 (Pt 2), 353–357.
  3. Gomes, R. J.; Borges, M. de F.; Rosa, M. de F.; Castro-Gómez, R. J. H.; Spinosa, W. A. Acetic Acid Bacteria in the Food Industry: Systematics, Characteristics and Applications. Food Technol Biotechnol 2018, 56 (2), 139–151.
  4. Cleenwerck, I.; De Wachter, M.; González, A.; De Vuyst, L.; De Vos, P. Differentiation of Species of the Family Acetobacteraceae by AFLP DNA Fingerprinting: Gluconacetobacter Kombuchae Is a Later Heterotypic Synonym of Gluconacetobacter Hansenii. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 2009, 59 (Pt 7), 1771–1786.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Costa, A. F. S.; Almeida, F. C. G.; Vinhas, G. M.; Sarubbo, L. A. Production of Bacterial Cellulose by Gluconacetobacter Hansenii Using Corn Steep Liquor As Nutrient Sources. Front Microbiol 2017, 8.
  6. Trovatti, E.; Serafim, L. S.; Freire, C. S. R.; Silvestre, A. J. D.; Neto, C. P. Gluconacetobacter Sacchari: An Efficient Bacterial Cellulose Cell-Factory. Carbohydrate Polymers 2011, 86 (3), 1417–1420.