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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Microscope Magnification
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:12 PM   #21
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+1 on getting a decent lab-grade used microscope. You can see yeast pretty easily at 400X and you MIGHT be able to make out tiny bacillus rods, but you really need 1000X/oil immersion/stain for bacteria.

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Old 06-24-2010, 08:58 PM   #22
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I bought a microscope from these folks a couple of years ago.

http://stores.ebay.com/MicroscopeNet...ase-Guide.html

Binocular with oil immersion lens - view was decent considering that it cost under $300. Made in China

Over a decade ago I had a similar design Olympus that I bought used for $500 at the time (would be closer to $700 in today's dollars) - the quality was excellent.

Depends if you have a local place that you can buy used.

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Old 06-25-2010, 12:17 AM   #23
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I second the calls for a nicer, possibly even old and beat microscope, as long as the lenses are good. I have an old Olympus KHC microscope I got very cheap. The lenses are good quality and everything is very clear.

It is really fun to be able to see what you are putting into your beer, and it gives you confidence that what you are doing is working, for example when you are trying to start yeast out of a Rogue bottle and you cant tell whether those bastards are going or not...

Both methylene blue and trypan blue are good live/dead stains for yeast. Both are cheap, the former probably more so. You could also pick up a microbiology protocol book (Uni library's a good place) to learn different stains and techniques. For example, if you know you've either got acetobacter or lactobaccilus, you can do a gram stain to tell the difference between these two. Easy and cheap. Microbiology is fun, even if it does push the geek boundary at home. (I do this stuff at work too, so take that for what it's worth...)

Also good investments are a hemocytometer for counting cells (eBay is your best bet: $15-40)--they have special, thick coverslips, so make sure either the hemocytometer comes with some or you get some elsewhere. One more thing, sterile, wrapped, plastic Pasteur pipettes are a FANTASTIC thing to have, when you want to take a sample of your yeast starter and not contaminate it, or when you want to take a sample of your wort without having to sterilize the pipette first, etc etc etc

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Old 09-22-2010, 04:16 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn View Post
Can dyes be used to determine cell viability?
I use methylene blue, but from what I understand, it's inaccurate for viability <90%.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:46 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPLASTiK View Post
Not very much, 10x-100x appears to be fine.

Check out the PDF here: http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/microscope.html


This is apparently 40x and they're pretty big and easy to see.

Edit: Apparently White Labs says you want 400x scope for cell counts: http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/cell_count.html.
This picture is actually 4*129X = 516X as seen on my monitor where the illustrated sub square is 129 x 129 mm. On the slide, the central square is 1 x 1 mm so this sub square is 1/4 X 1/4 mm. When a photomicrograph is taken one has to take into account the objective, the projection "occular" and the size at which the image is displayed.

With a 10X objective and 10X occular i.e. the central square occupies most of the visual field. Thus 100X is plenty for counting on a hemacytometer. For looking at the morphology of cells, 400X (40X objective; 10X occular) would probably be the most popular with 1000X of little use and a PITA because of the need to use immersion oil. Note that vanilla bright field microscopy doesn't reveal much internal structure. To do that phase contrast (or other techniques) are needed. I mention phase contrast because I'd think you could find a pretty decent used scope with a phase kit for a few hundred dollars on e-bay or craig's list.

The quality of the optics is paramount. While a "toy" microscope might be suitable for counting, you certainly wouldn't be able to see much cell morphology with one of those.
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:02 PM   #26
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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).
I got that exact one thinking it wouldn't matter. The issue with it is that it's so cheap, it's hard to hold the focus, especially if you are trying to count. Look for a good scope with a mechanical stage to move your hemocytometer around.

This is the one I've been looking at:

http://cgi.ebay.com/BINOCULAR-BIOLOG...item2eb00a9e89

While it might not be the nicest, It should be able to handle some cell counts once a month or so.
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Old 09-25-2010, 10:38 PM   #27
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A binocular microscope at that price kind of underwhelms me. See if there is someone who sells microscopes in you area and has any used ones at a comparable price.

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Old 09-26-2010, 07:36 PM   #28
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Bigscience, I'd agree with ajdelange; try to find a vendor that has a used one that you can actually look through. A well cared for used one is likely to give you better service than a cheap (not inexpensive) new one.
If you're not to far from Seattle, there's likely a good scope vendor around, as I'd bet a city like Seattle sports a decent sized college or two. Shoot an email to somebody in a microbiology department, that might be a good start.

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Old 09-26-2010, 09:07 PM   #29
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I count 70 alive and 4 dead. Been a while since I got to do a cell count. Never really was any good at it. Always got the dillution wrong.

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Old 09-26-2010, 10:25 PM   #30
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Bigscience, I'd agree with ajdelange; try to find a vendor that has a used one that you can actually look through. A well cared for used one is likely to give you better service than a cheap (not inexpensive) new one.
If you're not to far from Seattle, there's likely a good scope vendor around, as I'd bet a city like Seattle sports a decent sized college or two. Shoot an email to somebody in a microbiology department, that might be a good start.
Trust me, I'm all for overdoing everything and getting the nicest things because I can. I'm just trying to keep things somewhat cheap that may not matter, while still keeping this a hobby. The $9.99 scope I got off ebay works, it's just a pain to use. For the amount I'll be using this (check starters before pitch and cell viability after thaw) I'd bet the $200 range should be ok (I'll report back if I pull the trigger). For bigger projects that will require more scope time (yeast banking/stability studies), I'll just use one at work.

As for used, I'd bet I could score one from one of the Bio-techs around here that keep going tits up. Hell, I've been at 3 of them. With my birthday coming up, I need something to tell my in-laws I need.
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