Bioprospecting

By Mark |
Feb 3, 2021 |
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A weekly incursion into the mind of a brewer, where we will explore some of the intriguing aspects of beer making.

Today we are Bioprospecting! Not only fun to say at parties, fun to do for making beer. It’s the process of sifting the local environs to harvest microbes, which are, hopefully, useful for fermenting tasty treats.

I’ve got a couple of buckinghamias at home and they have flowered like crazy this year. So I took some unhopped wort from a recent brew and infused it with beverage grade ethanol and then selected both old and new flowers to see what microbes they are hiding.

There is a bit of conjecture about what yeast love the best: bark, soil, old leaves, Luke’s boots etc. I wanted to try both new and old flowers to increase my chances of catching something worthwhile.

This is a blunderbuss approach to bioprospecting. The selection criteria is reasonably broad; ethanol tolerant and anaerobically fermentative, but we will tighten that as we go…

From here we can utilise both the mixed culture, which contains a spectrum of beasties, or streak the culture on Agar plates and select individual clones/species. We will probably do both.

Stay tuned for the result, anytime in the next decade.

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