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Summary of replies about clever ideas for cooking fly food.

George W. Gilchrist gilchgw at zoology.washington.edu
Thu Mar 26 12:54:41 EST 1998

I want to thank all those who replied to my posting with details of how
their fly food kitchen operates. My original posting was:

> I'm going to be setting up a new lab far from a well established
> food kitchen and I could use some advice. What do folks use who regularly
> cook up 3-4 liters of food at a time? I've made small amounts in a beaker
> a stirrer hot plate, but perhaps someone has some fantastic device or easy
> method for doing larger amounts. I would appreciate hearing about anyones
> great ideas or inventions. Or, if there is a FAQ devoted to this, a
> would suffice. Comments on dispensing devices for 3-50 ml quantities would
> also be appreciated. Thanks a bunch.

Here I summarize the replies I received. There were lots of great ideas and
several folks wrote asking me to pass along the information, so here it is.
Once again, many thanks to all who responded.

George W. Gilchrist            gilchgw at u.washington.edu
University of Washington       Phone:(206)543-4859
Dept. of Zoology, Box 351800          FAX:(206)543-3041
Seattle, WA 98l95-1800

-----Original Message-----
From: Kravit, Nancy [mailto:NKravit at umecheme.maine.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 1998 1:37 PM
To: 'gilchgw at zoology.washington.edu'
Subject: 3-4 liter batches of fly food

Dear George:

I bought a heated food pump at a local restaurant supply house.  It has
a heated spout and is designed for pumping hot fudge sauce or nacho
cheese.  It has a variable temperature setting, and I regulate how much
I pump by putting a stack of washers around the pump handle so it can't
go down all the way.  It works pretty well for dispensing into vials or
bottles, but I do have to cook medum in a separate pot.  They cost
$200-300 new, but they're available used for much less.  They're also
pretty funny.  They come with lights and translucent pictures of food to
be backlit.  You can imagine the substitutions we've done for the
pictures of nachos and sundaes.


-----Original Message-----
From: Mary Stewart [mailto:mastewar at badlands.nodak.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 1998 2:00 PM
To: George W. Gilchrist
Subject: Re: Clever ideas for cooking fly food?

Hi George,
We cook small batches of fly food every couple of weeks.  We cook up
batches as small as 2 to 4 liters.  We use a heavy duty electric hot plate
that I bought at a restaurant supply house for about $125.00.  We use a
large kettle that I bought at the restaurant supply house also and a wooden
spoon from Walmart.  For pumping the food, I know lots of fly labs use a
filamatic pump that costs almost $4000.00 new.  On the recommendation of an
entomologist here who cooks up an artificial diet for moths that is very
similar in consistency to standard cornmeal/agar/molasses fly food, I
bought a Wheaton Unispense Peristaltic pump for about $1200.00.  The
entomologist said they have used their pump for 7 or 8 years on a weekly
basis and have had no problems with it ever.  These are available through
fisher or VWR.  The Wheaton part number for a 110 volt unit is 374301.  If
you order such a pump, you will have to decide what type of tubing you
want--it comes with the pump.  I use the 6mm interior diameter tubing that
has a specified filling range of 2.5 to 3000 ml and a flow rate of 9
ml/second.  So far, the pump is great.  It is programmable.  It also has a
delay timing set up.  We program it to dispense 8 ml of food and have a
delay time of 0.5 to 1 second before it dispenses the next 8 ml, thus
allowing time for us to move the nozzle from one tube to the next and avoid
dripping food down the outside of the tubes.  By the way, with a filamatic
pump, I think you also have to "hand dispense" the food with a nozzle
unless you spend megabucks to buy an automatic dispensing feature.

Hope this helps.

Mary Stewart

Mary Stewart
Dept. of Zoology
Stevens Hall
North Dakota State Univ.
Fargo, ND  58105
United States

phone: (701) 231-8226
fax:  (701) 231-7149

email:  mastewar at badlands.nodak.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: MuraTa, Riken Tsukuba [mailto:tmurata at rtc.riken.go.jp]
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 1998 3:32 PM
To: gilchgw at zoology.washington.edu
Subject: Re: [bio.dros] Clever ideas for cooking fly food?

Dear Dr. George W. Gilchrist,
   I cook one litter of fly food with a kettle (I'm not sure about the
speling.   A metal (alminium) instrument, to boil water, YAKAN in
Japanese).   I put glucose, yeast, agar, corn meal, magnetic stirrer bar
and water in it, put it in autocleave.   After autocleaving (120 C deg for
20 min), I put it on stirrer hot plate, put propionic acid, and pour the
food in bottles.
  Best wishes.

  Sincerely yours,

Takehide MuraTa  Ph. D.
e-mail: tmurata at rtc.riken.go.jp
personal HP: http://ac3.aimcom.co.jp/~tmurata/fly/
phone: +81-298-36-3612, fax: +81-298-36-9120

Tsukuba Life Science Center,
The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN)
Tsukuba Science City, Ibaraki 305-0074, Japan.

-----Original Message-----
From: chihara [mailto:chihara at usfca.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 1998 9:06 PM
To: George W. Gilchrist
Subject: Re: Clever ideas for cooking fly food?

I use a simple peristaltic pump to fill both vials and bottles right
from the pot.  It isn't high tech, but the pump can be used for other
things at other times.
Hope this helps.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce Chase [mailto:bachase at cwis.unomaha.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 1998 7:45 AM
To: George W. Gilchrist
Cc: dros at net.bio.net
Subject: Re: Clever ideas for cooking fly food?

I use an 18 qt. electric Turkey roaster, available for about $79 from a
discount store like Target. It cooks up to 10-12 liters without burning,
and does not require much stirring or tending.  Weigh out the mix (I use a
half-recipe of the Caltech medium described in "Drosophila, a Laboratory
manual" by Ashburner, p. 400, and vary the amount of water depending on
the heating season), mix water in slowly, stir, and set on high,
stirring occasionally until it boils.  Then lower the temperature, boil
slowly 25 minutes and cool before adding mold inhibitor. It is trivial to
clean and much less of a production than putting a large pot over a
hot-plate or laboratory gas burners or in an autoclave.  Using it makes
fly food a minor production instead of an entire afternoon. For pouring, I
still use a pump.  I have heard of other pouring methods with large ported
plastic bottles that can be refilled.  I store the stoppered food in
sealed tupperware-like containers at room temperature, typically up
to 3-4 weeks, without a problem, adding a dusting of dry yeast just
when the food is first used.

Bruce Chase
bachase at cwis.unomaha.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: A.J. DAVIS [mailto:PAB6AWD at leeds.ac.uk]
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 1998 4:43 AM
To: gilchgw at zoology.washington.edu
Subject: Re: Clever ideas for cooking fly food?

Hi George !

We use a piece of apparatus made by the company Jouan.  It
functions automatically and produces the amounts you
require.  However, it is a specialised piece of kit and you
probably wouldn't want to buy one unless you're going to be
cooking for this number of flies for quite a while.

If you are interested in more details then you could email
our lab. technician Linda Jenkinson pablsj at leeds.ac.uk.


Andrew Davis
University of Leeds, Yorkshire
England, LS2 9JT   UK

a.j.davis at uk.ac.leeds>

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