A sample of cells: you could count them by eye, if pressed
A fairly simple setup. Liquid-handling garb out of shot
About 1.7 billion cells/ml
Not perfect, but pretty good
CellMate is a piece of software for automated cell counting with a microscope & camera.
Whilst CellMate focuses on the effort-intensive counting exercise, it is designed to help capture & analyse the whole fermentation, from dissolved oxygen
to attenuation. By doing so, the brewer, distiller or winemaker is able to analyse, improve and repeat.
- Quality assurance & consistent production scheduling
- Cost savings from robust in-house yeast handling, re-use & propogation
- Precise fermentation control to design & reproduce specific flavour profiles
Successful primary fermentation, whether it's beer, whisky or wine, achieves both production of the desired flavour profile and an efficient and reliable attenuation,
leaving us with the desired product and ready for the next fermentation. In the case of secondary fermentation, we're looking to create the desired level of carbonation,
but also aiming to fine-tune or retain our flavour profile.
In either case, to hit our targets accurately and consistently, we need to pay close attention to our yeast. Changes in inputs (ie. pitch rate, dissolved oxygen, amino acids)
or conditions (ie. temperature) will affect comings and goings of chemical pathways within each cell. This very simplified diagram shows some of our key concerns.
Just for example, if we pitch too few yeast cells, they're likely to run out of steam, leaving an incomplete fermentation. Any remaining fermentable sugars are vulnerable to infection and
foreign yeast strains; not to mention the missing alcohol. On the other hand, if we pitch too many cells, our yeast will compete for too few resources and are liable to produce unintended
flavours and finish in poor condition for re-pitching.
The process begins as normal with sample preparation and positioning under the microscope.
- Replace the microscope eyepiece with the camera and plug the USB cable into the computer
- Open up the software and capture the desired image
- For any over- or under-counts, you can quickly add and remove to arrive at a final count
- Finally, specify any dilution of the sample to calculate the undiluted count
A short video is probably more instructive. I'll come back to you with that shortly.
Don't worry about it for the minute. There's no cost for the application at this stage.
We'll work something out later; most likely, some time in 2019.
Soon. It's still in development. I am looking for volunteers to test the application and help work it into a finished product.
For who: This project was inspired by brewers. The product is intended to be less "weird science" and rather as simple as possible. But, of course, I am open to all types of users and happy to discuss varying needs.
Regarding myself: I'm a humble yeast enthusiast with similar enthusiasm for beer, wine, gin; and the rest
Great. I'd love to hear expressions of interest. Give me a shout on email@example.com or via the Contact page
As I mentioned, I will be making a limited initial release available to those who can assist with testing.