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Old 06-23-2010, 03:59 PM   #11
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thanks. 400x, that makes sense. i'm not too interested in performing cell counts. i was only hoping to be able to identify yeast cells as well as bacteria like lactobacillus in infected beers.

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Old 06-23-2010, 04:17 PM   #12
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In general the information you obtain from a microscope is minimal, you can tell a yeast cell from a bacterial cell, but if you want to identify the difference between an acetobacter vs a lacto, or a wild yeast to a brewers yeast the microscope is the wrong tool as they will appear the same.

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Old 06-23-2010, 04:19 PM   #13
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for curiosity's sake, what would be the correct tool needed to differentiate between bacteria types?

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Old 06-23-2010, 04:42 PM   #14
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In general microbiology, you would need to do a battery of tests, to see what metabolisms your bug is capable of doing. Off the top of my head though, I would do a lactose test, lactobacillus can metabolize lactose, while yeast and most bacteria cannot.

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Old 06-24-2010, 03:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard View Post
The lense at the front of the microscope is 40X and the eyepiece gives a 10X extra magnification, for a total of 400X. As a microbiologist, I can tell you that a microscope will be a waste of time and money for you. If you want viable cell counts I would do a dilute to extinction plate technique, this is far more accurate.
Could you elaborate on this technique?
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:40 PM   #16
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This will be a quicky, the internet has more involved protocals for this. Essentially you need to dilute your culture so that when you plate 10-100 microliters of media, you will have a countable number of colonies form on a plate, this is ussually less than 300. As an example, a very turbid media will have around 10 to the 9th cells per millilter, I would take 1 microliter from this media and dilute it into 999 microliters of media you now have 10 to the 6th per mil, repeating this dilution will give you 10 to the 3rd per mill. At that point you may try and plate 10 to 100 microliters of each dilution, 100 microliters of 10 to the 3rd you would expect 100 colonies, and only 10 colonies for 10 microliters.

This method is ideal, as you are only counting viable cells, 1 colony came from 1 cell. using a hemacytometer you have no way of knowing if the cells are viable.

Sorry for the quickness of the post, PM me if you would like more information

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Old 06-24-2010, 02:30 PM   #17
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using a hemacytometer you have no way of knowing if the cells are viable.
Can dyes be used to determine cell viability?
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:41 PM   #18
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Yes I believe there are many dyes that can determine viablity, my understanding is their cost is prohibitive to a homebrewer. I believe methylene blue works for yeast, google yeast viability should give you a lot of information

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Old 06-24-2010, 03:37 PM   #19
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Just posting, as another microbiological research, to agree with tbeard. Cheap consumer grade microscopes are almost useless to begin with (900X magnification doesn't mean anything if you can't make anything out), and identifying bacteria from a microscope slide alone is a pretty specialized skill. While I hate to be dismissive, I wouldn't even bother trying with that microscope. If you really want to do this, you should look into an old, used scientific grade microscope on ebay. You'll pay ten times what that costs, but it would be sufficient, if you were also surrounded by a stack of reference books and practiced extensively.

That said, that microscope may well be sufficient to do viability determination of yeast. Yeast cells (especially brewer's yeast strains) are pretty beefy.

Yes, methylene blue is a good yeast vital stain. I disagree with tbeard here, acutally -- there's nothing remotely cost prohibitive about methylene blue, it's one of the most common stains and has been around forever. There's also no reason you couldn't use it alone. Dilution plating would be a bit more accurate, but really, you only care about an order of magnitude anyway, so it doesn't matter (and dilution plating would require fairly sterile procedure, which you almost certainly don't have the equipment or training for). There's no reason you couldn't make use methylene blue.

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Old 06-24-2010, 03:40 PM   #20
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You'll probably find that microscope incredibly frustrating. The lenses in cheap scopes aren't very clear and they're small. The WhiteLabs picture is probably from a scope in the greater than $500 range, if it's US, European or Japanese make.

A "Student" microscope in the $100 and up range might be OK, though the brands aren't what I cut my teeth on (Bausch & Lomb).
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