Master of Science (MS)


Animal Science (Animal, Dairy, and Poultry Sciences)

Document Type



Kefir is a fermented milk traditionally made from a unique starter culture, which consists of numerous bacteria and yeast species bound together in an exopolysaccharide matrix produced by certain lactic acid bacteria. Many health benefits are associated with traditionally produced kefir; however, bulging and leaking packaging, caused by secondary yeast fermentation during storage, has limited large scale manufacture traditionally produced kefir. Commercial kefir products have been designed to reduce these effects by using a pure starter culture consisting of a mixture of bacteria and yeast species that give a flavor similar to traditional kefir, but some health benefits may be lost in commercial production due to reduced microbial diversity and lack of beneficial exopolysaccharides. In this study, traditional and commercial kefir was frozen to study the effects of frozen storage on the viability of probiotic bacteria over time. The traditional kefir was prepared by inoculating 1 L of pasteurized whole goats milk with approximately 30 g of kefir grains. Commercial kefir was prepared by inoculating 1 L of full fat, pasteurized goat milk with a commercial kefir starter. The milk was allowed to ferment at room temperature (24-28°C) until pH 4.6 was reached. Samples were frozen (-8 to -14°C.) immediately following the completion of fermentation and were thawed and plated for lactobacilli, lactococci and yeasts on day 0, day 7, day 14 and day 30 of frozen storage. Statistical analysis was preformed by statistical analysis software (SAS®) using the variance analysis (ANOVA) f-test, with a confidence interval of 95% (P<0.05). Means were compared by the least significant difference (LSD) test. Lactobacilli, lactococci and yeasts were significantly (P<0.05) reduced in number during frozen storage; however, the traditionally produced kefir was shown to have significantly (P<0.05) higher counts of bacteria and yeast at each sampling. It was concluded that frozen storage and the development of frozen kefir products could eliminate most packaging concerns associated with the large scale manufacture of traditionally produced kefir, resulting in increased production and marketability of this healthful product.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Boeneke, Charles