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Mission One: Yeast Prepares for Launch

Jul 02, 2014 Comments (1)  | Tags: Beer Geekery Mission One: Yeast Prepares for Launch

From the desk of Dana Garves, Ninkasi’s lab technician…

Yeast is the ingredient most vulnerable to the harsh realities of space brewing. That’s our guess, anyway. A sterile environment with a controlled temperature is necessary, otherwise yeast can become contaminated or die. Our lab tech, and Ninkasi Space Program’s resident scientist, Dana, prepared yeast for a journey into space last month. Take a look at the process, straight from her lab notes:

1. While preparing yeast slants for our on-site library, Dana prepares the YPD media for space as well. YPD media is a combination of yeast extract, peptone, and dextrose. Gelatine will aid in solidifying the media.

Ninkasi Yeast Blog

2. During media sterilization, the striped tape indicates sterile media once it turns to blue and brown stripes. The color and clarity have also markedly changed.

Ninkasi Yeast

3. As the media is now sterile, the rest of the process takes place under a chemical hood. The blue-capped test tubes will be traveling to space. Next to them is the media, transfer pipets, caps and plugs for the earth library, and sterile alcohol.

4. Once all the tubes are filled with 8mL of YPD media, they rest at a slant and are given time to solidify (remember the gelatin from step 1?).

5. Sterilized loops are used to steal a sample of yeast from a previously made library slant, then spread onto the new slants in a zigzag pattern known as “streaking.”

6. After allowing the yeast to grow at about room temperature on these slants, the tubes are filled completely with mineral oil and sealed airtight. Plastic test tubes are used because the chances of expanding air breaking the glass in space are too great.

Ninkasi Yeast

7. Final Product: You can see the Yeast Streaks – the little white squigglies. Those squigglies will soon be in space.


Comments (1)

  1. Aline Sampaio:
    May 10, 2017 at 08:31 AM

    So cool!


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