Science of Tonics?

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Science of Tonics?

Postby Zacherywolf7 on Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:41 pm

Hello! So generally: what makes Tonics safe?

When I first started fermenting I did apple ciders and kombucha. I was a little worried about issues but quickly realized that alcohol, salt, vinegar and refrigeration all guarantee food safety.

Then enter tonics. I combine ginger and sugar to make a ginger bug. My first question while doing so is why won't there be mold? My ginger gets moldy in the fridge after a few weeks? Then I leave the ginger bug in the soda at room temperature. It has lemon, and eventually I refrigerate it before drinking, would those prevent/kill toxins? Just to state: I am not too worried. I followed a recipe and sanitized. I know the chance of something such as toxins is very low. I am not trying to harbor fear but am simply wondering the science.

So what is the science of this stuff fermenting and staying safe? Is it simply that it has sugar and by yeast eating sugar it keeps the healthy bacteria growing and prevents the bad.

Thanks for the answer and any discussion about the science of tonics. This info seemed scarce.
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Re: Science of Tonics?

Postby p38thadl on Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:54 pm

I'm only a little bit into "The Art of Fermentation," but I think the applicable catchphrase wanted here is "selective environment." Mr. Katz' books go a long way toward debunking the presumed necessity of "science" to ensure "safety." We would never have learned to fear botulinum toxin, he explains, if we hadn't tried to improve on fermentation by sterilizing our food, i.e., canning.

I took a little molecular biology in school. As I recall (with difficulty) it was mostly about how pH and salinity determine whether this or that protein takes a form that allows it to polymerize or otherwise function. I think that chemistry basically scales up to this effect, because the substances are those that alter protein structure: salt, alcohol, acid.

Reading abstracts in medicine (dermatology is a special interest) and nutrition more lately has led me to speculate that what makes a tonic effective in improving the integrity of our own organism is the diversity of carboxylic acids our bacterial allies give us. Molecules of various sizes to penetrate all our organs and tissues and clear calcium from its protein binding sites, making the processes of life flow like a water heater that has been unburdened of its hard water encrustations.

Finally, the microorganisms living in us benefit from the selective environments provided by our optimally functioning bodies. The "acid mantle" of our skin is most familiar and accessible to direct manipulation. Tonic beverages are to our guts what acid toners (chemical exfoliators) are to our skin. I couldn't figure out previously why people referred to pumpkin enzyme, when no protein is ever specified. That's actually an old presumption from the history of fermentation, that the enzymes decomposing a vegetable are the functional constituent. The cosmeceutical makers simply ferment pumpkin juice and call it "enzymes." ... rment.html

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Re: Science of Tonics?

Postby Christopher Weeks on Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:11 am

Molds want to form where they can consume produce and also have access to oxygen. So, at the top of your ferment. When you're creating a ginger bug, you stir it up to keep the mold from taking root. The more you stir, the more hostile the environment over time is to the mold organism. Make no mistake -- there are mold spores there (and everywhere), but they just can't thrive enough to create a harmful colony. Meanwhile, the yeast and bacteria that you want in your bug are not harmed by the stirring, so they just keep digesting the sugar and ginger and making babies, totally overrunning the mold and other pathogenic organisms.

So then, you dump the ginger bug, once the organisms you want to use to form your soda are really strong, into some flavored sugar-water. There's still some mold, but your colony doesn't favor them and the yeast and bacteria swiftly go to town on your sugar. Further, you're probably shaking or stirring your soda during primary fermentation, continuing to attack the mold-organisms' ability to prosper. Or maybe you're fermenting under a water-lock and the colony throws off a boat-load of carbon dioxide. When that happens, the atmosphere inside the ferment becomes less and less O2 (and everything else) and more and more CO2 as the bubbles pass through your lock. Eventually, there's so little O2 at the top of your ferment, that even if there are a few mold cells still alive, they can't breathe. They either die off or sit dormant, not dropping much in the way of toxins into your soda.

That's my understanding.
Christopher Weeks
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Re: Science of Tonics?

Postby p38thadl on Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:22 am

"Competitive exclusion" -- yes, you could reasonably guess that there is a pathogen bug that would compete with every beneficial organism. I have to admit, it takes a bit of faith to believe good can win over evil, at the microscopic scale. (Though really, there's no value judgment involved, just an arbitrary framework of alliances with the human organism.)

What we really need to ask science is: what side are you on? Like antibiotics destroying your gut, pesticides killing bees, pasteurization deprives us of nutrition.
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