Author Topic: Microscope and yeast counting  (Read 10549 times)

Offline karlh

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Microscope and yeast counting
« on: December 15, 2009, 08:21:07 AM »
Does anyone out there use a microscope and counting chamber for yeast counting?  I am wondering what the basic equipment and procedures are, what common dilution levels are, and whether it is worth it.  I have a decent microscope, and could very likely be yeast counting tomorrow with cookbook type instructions, but am uncertain whether you collect a sample from the yeast cake and dilute or shake up a starter and sample the liquid slurry.  If you were to do the latter, would you then pitch the entire volume?  Is anyone doing any yeast counting?
Karl
Mundelein, IL  USA

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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2009, 09:03:23 AM »
I'm getting one and a counting chamer for christmas. I'm looking forward to that and playing around with it. But at this point I only have a vague idea about what to do exactly.

I believe you want to get a hemacytometer and methylene blue stain. The stain is not necessary for counting but can give you a rough idea which cells are dead and which are alive. 

Kai

Offline tom

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Brew on

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2009, 10:22:57 AM »

Offline tom

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2009, 12:45:18 PM »
Their whole website is a great source. Too bad they don't sell yeast to homebrewers.
Brew on

Offline philsner

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2009, 08:03:21 AM »
Thanks, good info on the proceedure. I have a 1000x scope, so where is the best place to get a hemacytometer and methylene blue stain?

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Offline narvin

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2009, 08:57:16 AM »
I purchased this one -- http://www.cynmar.com/item_detail.aspx?ItemCode=01200123.  Kai recommended cynmar at one point, and I was happy with their service.

It's definitely interesting, although I can't see myself doing it on every batch.  I'm actually more interested in using the microscope for wild Belgians.
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Chris S.

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2009, 09:17:09 AM »
I love shopping and browsing at Cynmar. At this point I’m ordering more there than I do at home brew stores. I have their catalog as bathroom reading material.

I got the methylene blue as dry power and plan to make small batches of it for staining. I figure that I won’t need much.

I’m with Narvin in that the excitement over being able to count cells will wear off at some point. But it’s still nice to be able to check one more intermediate point in the process.

And my daughter (5) seems to be very interested in looking at stuff under the microscope. So getting a good one wasn’t a hard sell to the wife if it helps with the education of the kids.

Kai


Offline denny

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2009, 09:56:23 AM »
And my daughter (5) seems to be very interested in looking at stuff under the microscope. So getting a good one wasn’t a hard sell to the wife if it helps with the education of the kids

When I was a kid, my parents bought us chemistry sets, microscopes, electronics construction kits, all kinds of science stuff.  I think that's one of the main reasons I turned into a geek!
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2009, 10:35:52 AM »
I believe one would be really enlightened and suprised at the behavior and viability of yeast under a microscope. I have never examined yeast under a scope but sure would like to give it a try sometime. My wish list is pretty long and getting longer.  ;D
Ron Price

Offline karlh

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2009, 11:57:14 AM »
I believe one would be really enlightened and suprised at the behavior and viability of yeast under a microscope. I have never examined yeast under a scope but sure would like to give it a try sometime. My wish list is pretty long and getting longer.  ;D

I have a microscope and counting chamber, and started the thread to get an idea if and how folks are using these.  What I can say from my very limited experience is that the quality of the microscope is important.  New student and lab microscopes are very expensive, costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Toy microscopes will not give you a quality approaching that of a 100 year old lab microscope.  They have plastic optics, and really don't work well.  I found a high quality (Leitz) microscope from around 1950 on craigslist for $100, and have been very pleased with it.  If you can find a decent quality lab microscope it will be of a far greater value than a new, inexpensive, microscope.

I have followed the procedures Kai linked to, which are similar to those on the Brewing Techniques site and elsewhere, and the cells are easy to see and count.  I have not worked on the staining yet, but will note that you can also find Meth blue in the pet supplies for aquarium use, its inexpensive, and would work well.  The yeast does not really "behave"... it just sits there, and using a 40-50x objective they just look like little spheres in the counting squares.  The math is tougher than the microscope. 
Karl
Mundelein, IL  USA

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2009, 01:13:28 PM »
I have their catalog as bathroom reading material.
This is pretty hard core :)

Kai
What kind of microscope did you buy?

By the way this is pretty interesting subject.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2009, 09:20:56 PM »

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Microscope and yeast counting
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2009, 08:24:25 AM »
Thank you :)
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