For her part, Nina is determining the best ‘grain’ to milk ratio for commercial production of kefir dairy products, in collaboration with interested dairy companies in Tasmania.

“Kefir grain is a microbiological culture and, when submerged in milk, it causes the milk to ferment. It is different to other probiotic products, such as yoghurt, because of its large number of diverse bacteria and yeasts, making it more easily digested,” Nina said.

Nina has been working with commercial Tasmanian dairies to determine the best way to make kefir in the factory. “I have tested numerous batches of kefir, and through these preliminary studies, I’ve confirmed a method that ensures the consistent quality needed for a traditional style kefir drink that can be sold commercially and lasts in the fridge for up to seven days,” she said.

A key industry partner for Nina’s research project is Westhaven Dairy in Launceston.

“Kefir has been common in Eastern Europe for a long time, and it’s exciting to be developing Tasmanian kefir products in demand for our present-day lifestyle,” Director of Westhaven Dairy Jonty Barnett said.

Agrifood development company RDS Partners is the major funder of this research project. Along with Westhaven Dairy, other collaborators on this study are Leap Farm, Eden Foods, Hindmarsh Valley Dairy and FermenTasmania.

Photo: Nina Rosenzweig.

Authored by Claire Baker.

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