Electric Kombucha

/ / Science

In the last few years, entrepreneurial scientists have found creative uses for the kombucha SCOBY mother used to make new products. The latest: using SCOBY as a malleable surface to print circuit boards. 

Researchers at the University of the West of England, Bristol, discovered the dried mats made from the cellulose of the SCOBY make flexible, cheaper, lighter and more eco-friendly circuit boards for electronics. And because these kombucha mats are non-conductive, they’re also safer. Andrew Adamatzky, professor at the university and one of the researchers, says they tested the SCOBY mat with tiny LEDs on the circuits, which still worked after stress tests.

“Nowadays kombucha is emerging as a promising candidate to produce sustainable textiles to be used as eco-friendly bio wearables,” Adamatzky, tells New Scientist. “We will see that dried — and hopefully living — kombucha mats will be incorporated in smart wearables that extend the functionality of clothes and gadgets. We propose to develop smart eco-wearables which are a convergence of dead and alive biological matter.”

Researchers hope kombucha electronics can soon be used as wearable electronics, like heart rate monitors. 

The discovery is another in a unique lineup of SCOBY-based innovations. Alternative “leather” closes made from SCOBY were designed by an Iowa State professor in 2016, SCBOY water purifiers were designed by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Imperial College London scientists in 2021 and a SCOBY wood alternative called Pyrus was designed by University of Illinois student in 2021. 

Read more (ARS Technica)