Kulturkollektionen – open access microbes
check out our current collection here.
Bringing applied microbiology back to the home culture. Improving the diversity, quality and sustainability of our everyday.
We do this by:
- Maintaining an open source strain collection
- Developing collaborative protocols and recipes
- Education and networking through talks and open workshops.
Purpose and Project
Kulturkollektionen is a new project as part of Biologigaragen, with the goal of spreading knowledge and physical strains of live food and other useful microorganisms to people in an open-source, participatory method. we collect, experiment with, and disseminate strains and co-cultures which are useful for food production. we want to make these strains and fermentation available and accessible to the general public, and develop a culture of ‘culturing’ to get people more in touch with their food and its production. while some cultured products are available in stores, often at a high markup, we want to give people the ability to make their own and different foods, without having to have specialized knowledge before starting. we want to make fermentation a part of daily kitchen life and food again, and remove the barriers of specialization, equipment and access, to make sure everyone has the ability to culture their own foods. we gather as many different biological cultures as we can get our hands on, so we can experiment with them and share them with each other and our communities. by holding workshops and demonstrations, we hope to teach each other how to make better and more diverse cultures in the kitchen.
we also develop unique and easily replicable methods for the culturing and fermentation of foods, using easily acquired or built equipment, which can be reproduced in labs and kitchens everywhere. we open source our methods and equipment, while also open sourcing the cultures used for food production.
Fermentation has been used for thousands of years to preserve food and to make indigestible foods more digestible. long before the invention of fridges, the introduction of beneficial bacteria to food has been used to keep it from spoiling, i.e. invasion by less desirable/dangerous bacteria and fungi. Many bacteria are also present in the human digestive system, so fermentation is already a part of how we consume our food, just on the inside. by pre-fermenting food before eating it, we help to develop and introduce healthy stomach bacteria communities, which can often be stressed by modern industrial diets. There is much talk as well of ‘probiotics’ and ‘prebiotics’, which means foods that provide beneficial bacteria for digestion, and food tailored specifically to feed our stomach bacteria. These types of food items are often sold at significant markups to the raw materials, making them only available to those who can afford the added food costs.
Some common examples of fermented foods are yogurt, cheese, beer, and wine. We eat fermented foods on an almost daily basis, however few people are producing their own fermented foods. the most common home fermentations are usually beer or other alcohols, but there are hundreds of other fermented foods which are consumed around the world. we want to expand access to these foods and cultures, so that our kitchens and guts can be more healthy and hands on places. Fermentation is also a fun way to interact with your food, and can aid in the localization of food resources, as more sustainable methods for local food storage and consumption.
food cultures are living things, and therefore storage and dissemination are not as easy as with other objects, such as books or even food items. they must be taken care of, and tended to to make sure they stay healthy and can reproduce. Similarly to electronic media, cultures can be copied, reproduced, and modified many times over, usually without effecting the quality of the culture. however, this ‘copying’ is much more time and knowledge intensive the file sharing, and therefore it is good to have reliable sources of our cultures. many of these cultures are for human consumption, and therefore is is also important to make sure that they haven’t been ‘corrupted’ by less desirable bacteria. by providing public access to live cultures, we provide a repository for cultures and strains that might not be otherwise available in a public manner. by developing access to strains and propagation methods, we increase availability and make sharing of these cultures easier. we also experiment with strain storage when possible.
- Collect a wide variety of bacterial, fungal, and algal cultures and strains useful for producing food or other products
- Make these strains available to the public through a ‘culture library’, where people can ‘check out’ and experiment with their own fermentations
- Develop easy and replicable methods for fermentation and strain propagation that can be used in kitchens and other DIY labs. (laboratory protocols)
- Teach people how to ferment and give out strains through workshops
- Allow for experimentation with fermentation with and beyond food in a DIY, participatory environment.
Participation and getting strains
To get your hands on a strain, first, check out our wiki (https://labitat.dk/wiki/Kulturkollektionen) to see what strains and procedures are available. you can then send us an email at biologigaragen and we will work together to get you the strain from our collection. This is a user driven and participatory project, so get involved and help grow the collection.
how we operate
we are a part of BiologiGaragen, which is also a part of Labitat. we operate on a user driven, participatory and non-hierarchical basis. everyone is welcome to get involved and help shape Kulturkollektionen. Get in touch with us through Biologigaragen.