Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fermentation Tube

I'm a bit of a sucker when it comes to lab equipment. I love gadgets. This is one of those things I picked up that I figured would just be a novelty, but became a coveted piece of equipment in my lab.

A fermentation tube is essentially a way you can visually be assured the yeast you are cultivating are alive and well. When yeast convert sugar to alcohol a byproduct is CO2 gas. When working with very small scale fermentation you often can't get a real good visual (without a microscope) of how well the yeast are preforming. When I reanimate a strain from storage in a test tube, I don't have any real visual reference to know if the yeast is becoming viable. With a fermentation tube, you can view the amount of gas being created and then verify your yeast is indeed working away and its not just some bacteria (as bacteria will cloud the wort, create sediment, and not produce any gas).

As you see in the photo, it's nothing more than a curved tube with a larger reservoir to collect the wort as the gas gathers at the top of the tube. The actual tube is graduated (10ml in my example) to allow you to note the amount of CO2 being produced.

I generally use this to test my stored samples, or to reanimate a strain for a starter. Works well, and is neat looking to boot!

1 comment:

Bokonon said...

That is pretty cool, I might have to get one of those.

I suppose you could figure out something about yeast health if you logged the amount of co2 produced over a period of time. Comparing the results with the same strain every time you propagate might tell you something.