Antioxidant and Antibacterial Activity of the Beverage Obtained by Fermentation of Sweetened Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis L.) Tea with Symbiotic Consortium of Bacteria and Yeasts

Aleksandra S. Velićanski*, Dragoljub D. Cvetković, Siniša L. Markov, Vesna T. Tumbas Šaponjac and Jelena J. Vulić

Faculty of Technology, University of Novi Sad, Bulevar cara Lazara 1, RS-21000 Novi Sad, Serbia

Article history

Received February 6, 2014
Accepted August 28, 2014

Key words

kombucha, lemon balm tea, antioxidant activity, antibacterial activity


Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage which is traditionally prepared by fermenting sweetened black or green tea (Camellia sinensis L.) with symbiotic consortium of bacteriamand yeasts (SCOBY). In this study, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) was used as the only nitrogen source for kombucha fermentation. During the seven-day fermentation process, pH value, titratable acidity (TA), total phenolic content, phenolic compounds, and antioxidant activity against hydroxyl (˙OH) and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazil (DPPH) radicals were measured to detect the connection between the fermentation time and antioxidant and antibacterial activities of lemon balm kombucha. Antibacterial activity of finished beverages with optimum acidity (TA=4–4.5 g/L), the value which is confirmed by long-time kombucha consumers, and enhanced acidity (TA=8.12 g/L) was tested against eleven wild bacterial strains. The results showed that lemon balm could be successfully used as an alternative to C. sinensis L. for kombucha fermentation. Total phenolic content and antioxidant activity against DPPH radicals of lemon balm fermentation broth were higher than those of traditional kombucha. Rosmarinic acid is the main phenolic compound of the lemon balm-based kombucha that probably provides biological activity of the beverage. Judging from the EC50 values, kombucha beverages exhibited higher antioxidant activities compared with C. sinensis L. and M. officinalis L. infusions, which can probably be ascribed to SCOBY metabolites. Lemon balm kombucha with both optimum and enhanced acidity showed antibacterial activity, which can be primarily ascribed to acetic acid, but also to some other tea components and SCOBY metabolites.

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