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Old 01-11-2008, 01:25 AM   #1
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Default Microscope?

Any of you yeast wranglers out here own a microscope to keep an eye on your flock or look for contamination? I haven't even used a biological microscope since college, which was along time ago. I'm thinking a compound scope, about 400X max. Thoughts?

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Old 01-11-2008, 01:30 AM   #2
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you can count yeast with a microscope, but to look for contamination it is better to plate some samples. I think you would need a oil immersion lens somewhere around 400x

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Old 01-11-2008, 01:51 AM   #3
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One thing most people don't understand is how ubiquitous bacteria are. Simply put, they are everywhere!!! I promise you, that even if you take the best precautions, and sanitize everything, you will find bacteria in your beer.

The question is not whether or not there are bacteria in your beer, but how prolific they are. You could spend the money on a microscope, and you will see bacteria. Or you can simply accept that they are there, but work to minimize the amount that is in your beer.

Plus there is the additional work of actually preparing the slides (do you remember how to do gram stains?). You need a 1000x oil immersion scope. And you also need to know how to interpret what you see.

Personally, that sounds like way to much work and money for what is supposed to by a fun hobby. Now, if you are like me, and just love using a microscope to look at all the little things that the naked eye can't see, then it sounds like an excellent way to combine your two favorite things!

That's my two-cents.

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Old 01-11-2008, 02:08 AM   #4
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Hmmm, I might have to bring my monocle shop scope home just to take a peek at things next brew day. I don't expect to take action based on what I see, but it might make for some good pictures.

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Old 01-11-2008, 02:21 AM   #5
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+1 what Chase said, if you have bacterial contamination, you may see it on the scope, you may not. Your best bet is to grow up the yeast on an agar plate.

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Old 01-11-2008, 04:16 AM   #6
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A microscope is way overkill. You would just see yeast and cellular debris for the most part. I have worked for the past 7 years as a microbiologist and can tell you that if you have an infection you will probably taste the change in your beer before you could see it.
FYI you would need an oil immersion lens for 400x and they are not cheap

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Old 01-11-2008, 04:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chase
One thing most people don't understand is how ubiquitous bacteria are. Simply put, they are everywhere!!! I promise you, that even if you take the best precautions, and sanitize everything, you will find bacteria in your beer.

The question is not whether or not there are bacteria in your beer, but how prolific they are. You could spend the money on a microscope, and you will see bacteria. Or you can simply accept that they are there, but work to minimize the amount that is in your beer.

Plus there is the additional work of actually preparing the slides (do you remember how to do gram stains?). You need a 1000x oil immersion scope. And you also need to know how to interpret what you see.

Personally, that sounds like way to much work and money for what is supposed to by a fun hobby. Now, if you are like me, and just love using a microscope to look at all the little things that the naked eye can't see, then it sounds like an excellent way to combine your two favorite things!

That's my two-cents.
word. I agree whole-heartedly.

Hey, Chase, you're from Peoria. . . interesting. . . we'll have to exchange notes sometime.
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biermann
word. I agree whole-heartedly.

Hey, Chase, you're from Peoria. . . interesting. . . we'll have to exchange notes sometime.
I think that makes you the closest brewer, to me. Let me get a few homebrew batches under my belt, and then we can exchange notes, when I have something to say.
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chase
One thing most people don't understand is how ubiquitous bacteria are. Simply put, they are everywhere!!! I promise you, that even if you take the best precautions, and sanitize everything, you will find bacteria in your beer.

The question is not whether or not there are bacteria in your beer, but how prolific they are. You could spend the money on a microscope, and you will see bacteria. Or you can simply accept that they are there, but work to minimize the amount that is in your beer.

Plus there is the additional work of actually preparing the slides (do you remember how to do gram stains?). You need a 1000x oil immersion scope. And you also need to know how to interpret what you see.

Personally, that sounds like way to much work and money for what is supposed to by a fun hobby. Now, if you are like me, and just love using a microscope to look at all the little things that the naked eye can't see, then it sounds like an excellent way to combine your two favorite things!

That's my two-cents.
I just noticed your avatar, do you do Drosophila work?
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:48 PM   #10
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I know my beer will have some contamination. I am starting to save yeast, experimenting with using slants and sucrose solution. I want to examine specimens from my saved samples for contamination. I just remembered this picture from Palmer's book: http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2.html
In the book, it is listed as a 500X magnification, but on the website it's listed as 3000X. I'm pretty sure the 500X is correct.

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