Author Topic: Magnification for microscope?  (Read 246 times)

Offline syncopadence

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Magnification for microscope?
« on: April 20, 2019, 04:15:47 PM »
I found a microscope at a local thrift shop for $5 and figured it's worth a shot for the price. It goes up to 900x. So what I'd like to know is this good enough? Just looking to do cell counts and look for contamination if I ever suspect it. Are there any other considerations?
Thanks in advance.

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Offline ethinson

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Re: Magnification for microscope?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2019, 05:21:18 PM »
We do our yeast counts at 400X so it should be fine for that.  We look at bacteria at 1000X, so 900 may be good enough for that as well, just check to make sure that the highest setting is or isn't oil immersion. That helps the focus at higher magnifications.  We have "microscope immersion oil" from Fisher Scientific but perhaps regular mineral oil would work? Perhaps you can google that?

5$ is a steal for a scope even if it only partially works! I've thought about getting a scope but at the moment I'm not to the point of reusing yeast so it wouldn't be too helpful.
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Offline syncopadence

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Re: Magnification for microscope?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2019, 05:47:07 PM »
We do our yeast counts at 400X so it should be fine for that.  We look at bacteria at 1000X, so 900 may be good enough for that as well, just check to make sure that the highest setting is or isn't oil immersion. That helps the focus at higher magnifications.  We have "microscope immersion oil" from Fisher Scientific but perhaps regular mineral oil would work? Perhaps you can google that?

5$ is a steal for a scope even if it only partially works! I've thought about getting a scope but at the moment I'm not to the point of reusing yeast so it wouldn't be too helpful.
Yeah even if it doesn't work out it was worth a shot for $5. But this is it: Microscope Lab Max - 100x- 900x- Zoom Magnification https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000VS44XA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_AR1UCb72EW44A

Thanks for the info

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Offline RC

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Re: Magnification for microscope?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2019, 04:40:17 AM »
A $5 scope is a toy, not a real instrument. They're not useless...but they're toys, just keep that in mind.

Anyway, you should ask yourself: what would you do with the info a scope might give you?

If it gives you a clear view at 400x, you'll be able to count cells, but you'll need a hemocytometer. And you should do viability as well, so you'll need some methylene blue. As for contamination, I'm highly skeptical that a $5 scope will allow you to do immersion-oil viewing at 1000x (gotta use oil immersion at this mag, and yes immersion oil is the same as mineral oil). But even if you get reasonable viewing at 1000x, will you be able to identify what you're seeing?

Use the freshest yeast possible, perhaps make a starter, and clean/sanitize well. Save $5.

Offline syncopadence

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Re: Magnification for microscope?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2019, 04:36:22 PM »
A $5 scope is a toy, not a real instrument. They're not useless...but they're toys, just keep that in mind.

Anyway, you should ask yourself: what would you do with the info a scope might give you?

If it gives you a clear view at 400x, you'll be able to count cells, but you'll need a hemocytometer. And you should do viability as well, so you'll need some methylene blue. As for contamination, I'm highly skeptical that a $5 scope will allow you to do immersion-oil viewing at 1000x (gotta use oil immersion at this mag, and yes immersion oil is the same as mineral oil). But even if you get reasonable viewing at 1000x, will you be able to identify what you're seeing?

Use the freshest yeast possible, perhaps make a starter, and clean/sanitize well. Save $5.
I understand there are better ones out there, and that I'll need other tools to go with it, but I've heard from several people that you don't need anything expensive for basic functions such as mine. My main thing will really be about counts and viability/vitality. I already have good practices, but you really can't know for sure what you have unless you take a closer look. And again, $5 was worth the gamble.

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Offline stpug

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Re: Magnification for microscope?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2019, 03:04:42 PM »
For $5, it will be a fun tool to have around and look at stuff.  What you're able to see and make out with that tool is yet to be determined (by you).  Regardless, $5 is super cheap and pretty safe bet!

As for counts and viability, RC is correct.  You'll be needing additional tools that cost a bit more: hemocytometer w/ cover plate (for counts) and Meth-Blue (for viability staining), and a reliable way of defloccing the yeast that also allows for proper staining (EDTA solution is great).  Then a process that dilutes down your samples so you're able to reliably count and interpolate (up) for pitching quantity.  Once pitching weight is determined, a scale for measuring out the pitch.

If quick viability is all you want then you can likely forego the hemo for a regular plate, and simply do several 100 counts to determine an average viability, but you'll still need the defloccing solution and stain.

As much as I enjoy the process of counting yeast for proper viability/pitching/etc, I don't bother doing it for home purposes. It starts to get into the "overkill for homebrewing" category for my own personal desires, but to each their own and there's certainly nothing wrong with doing this for your own home brewery.