DIY Culture Rotator

If you collect and culture your own yeast, you know how difficult it can be to go from a stock in your freezer or on a slant to a useable amount of yeast. In my opinion, the most troublesome step is the first step, where you grow up a small amount of yeast in a test tube. The small size of these cultures (typically 5 to 10 mL) and small tubes make it difficult to maintain good oxygenation and mixing of the culture. This, in turn, slows growth and reduces yields. So how to we improve on this? We make a cheap but effective culture rotator!

Culture rotators are common equipment in microbiology labs. They hold cultures at an angle, which creates a larger surface area for oxygen transport. And they rotate the tubes, which keeps the yeast in suspension.

This is a quick an simple design that I built for my research lab, but given its $30 cost, it would also be a good addition to the home microbiology lab!

A full parts list, 3D printing files, and build instructions for this 3D printed culture rotator can be found on my research lab’s Thingiverse site.

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