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What is Kefir ? Kefir is a type of fermented milk that is cultured with Kefir grains. Kefir grains make up the probiotic culture used to produce Kefir. These cauliflower-like grains contain mostly lactobacilli bacteria and yeasts held together by Kefiran, an exopolysaccharide structure. (Korsak et al. 2014). Kefir grains are Mesophilic. Mesophilic starters are cultured at room temperature, which allows the probiotics to remain active when consumed. Properties of mesophilic starters also give Kefir the liquid consistency it is known for. (Sarah, 2016). Kefir originated in the Caucasus Mountains thousands of years ago, the name coming from the Turkish work Keyif meaning “good feeling’. Kefir is well known for its health benefits, which can be attributed to its probiotics. Probiotics are foods that contain beneficial bacteria and yeasts for the human body. (Otles & Cagindi, 2003). Kefir as a product Rising awareness in American culture for maintaining good health is now driving up the demand for the Probiotic Food and Beverages Market. (“Probiotics Market Analysis”, 2015). In a highly competitive consumer Probiotic Food and Beverages Market, producers are constantly challenged to keep the quality of their product high while maintaining an affordable price for their product. In the United States Kefir is marketed as a yogurt-like probiotic beverage. Therefore, the quality of Kefir can be determined by the viability of its probiotics and how effective they are at delivering health benefits to the human body. (Kaufman, 2015). This study aims to discover if Kefir products, bought at a supermarket, can produce enough viable probiotics to be extracted and cultured. If successful, can a dominant lactobacilli species be determined for each Kefir product tested, using standard barcoding methods.

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