Ferment! Day 2

Isolating DNA

A major part of our residency is getting a clear picture of the microbial populations of our ferment samples. The first step of this is isolating the DNA. Our samples go through a series of procedures, mechanic and chemical, in order to take away the structures of the cells. The samples are then passed through a filter to catch the isolated DNA.

We spent the majority of today working on samples of unrefined anchovy fish sauce, young and old flower bud lactic ferments and young and old kimchi. The end results are incredibly clear, a good sign, without a hint of smell or colour. Sean is testing them back at his lab, and fingers crossed we have good results! We will be updating the results later on this week, as well as processing more samples.

It seems interesting in kimchi that the vegetable is heavily salted, effectively killing all surface bacteria. Some vegetables are left for a long time. How much LAB bacteria remains on the veg? How much is found in the seasoning? And what other bacteria is responsible for the transition of raw kimchi to ripe?

Once we establish a successful isolation, we’ll be running through some more directed experiments to answer these questions.