The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem full of microbial communities. Probiotics, such as kombucha (a fermented tea beverage), may help to diversify our gut microbiome and in turn promote overall health. To determine the effects kombucha has on the gut microbiome, three participants (all females between the ages of 18-22) provided fecal samples before and after drinking 8 oz of kombucha biweekly for one month. Participants also filled out a survey about their overall health and diet and received their fecal sample kit from Biomesight. After defecating, the sample was swabbed, placed in the tube provided by the manufacturer, and stirred in saline solution for 30 seconds. After sealing the tube, it was shaken vigorously for 10 seconds. To analyze the microbes present, samples were sent to the lab where Biomesight sequenced the v4 region of the 16S rRNA of the bacteria using PCR. These DNA sequences were then compared to their curated bacterial database for genus identification. Scores were assigned based on ideal numbers of probiotic organisms, diversity (Shannon-Wiener Diversity Index), ideal numbers of commensals, pathobionts, and overall gut wellness (a combination of the other 4 scores). We predicted an increase in probiotic, diversity, and gut wellness scores, a decrease in pathobionts, and no changes in commensals. A comparison of these categories in the “before” and “after” samples supported our hypothesis for the diversity and commensal categories. Average diversity scores increased from 82.67 to 86 (p-value=0.009) and commensal averages were 80 and 85.02 before and after kombucha treatment (p-value=0.3686). Probiotic scores decreased from 70 to 68.9 (p-value=0.915). Pathobiont averages were 98.33 and 100 before and after kombucha (p-value=0.1997). Gut wellness scores increased from 83.12 to 84.86 (p[1]value=0.6392). Kombucha has potential to increase health and wellness as a probiotic.

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