Nerd Reading Spasm!

Did I mention the place I work has some amazingly spiffy perks for a nerd like me?

Last night, I was poking around pubmed looking for references to yeast and erythritol (namely, do yeast interact with it, and will they metabolize it?) I found precisely one relevant reference. From 1975. In a Czechoslavokian microbiology journal. A no-longer-existent Czechoslovakian microbiology journal. Even though it was a journal published in English, I didn’t figure I’d be able to find the article I was looking for. It did turn out that the greedy (insert long string of profanity here) anti-open-access “SpringerLink®” Netherlands organization has an electronic copy of the article…which I can get limited access to for a short time for a mere $34.00. Not going to happen, obviously.

Just in case the college had a subscription that would let me get to the article at no extra cost, I checked. No such luck. But…

…The campus medical science library just two buildings over from where I work has dead-tree editions of essentially the entire journal! Im name des Nudelmonster! Instead of paying $34.00, I got a photocopy of the article for about $0.50. Bonus: As I had hoped, the article[1] reports that erythritol is not metabolized by yeasts, although it is taken up to a small extent. That means I can add erythritol (or xylitol or sorbitol or whatever) to must or wort, and it’ll still be there when the yeast finish, leaving the resulting beverage still sweet. Hooray!

Plus, I was also able to get access to an electronic copy of a review of the uses of poly-?-glutamate[2], which I was bemoaning not having access to over on an interesting Small Things Considered post recently.

Speaking of reading, one thing I really could use are any worthwhile books on the general subject of applied/industrial microbiology, bioprocess engineering, fermentation, and so on. “Worthwhile” here means practical texts that are A)primarily about microbiological processes (as opposed to, say, bioengineering of plants) B)Reasonably technical, and C)Either “not very old” or “very old indeed” (I collect old science books).

I’m not a fan of’s abuses of the patent system, but I’m in a hurry since it’s past my bedtime already. Therefore, purely as a sampling of the kinds of books that sounded interesting to me, here is a selection in more or less random order of books that came up in a quick search on Anybody out there have any other suggestions?

So, if any family members, friends, or adoring members of my cult seeking to bestow material goods upon me happen to be poking around at a bargain books site or a library selling off extra books or wins the lottery (I noticed one of the entries in that list up there was going for $400 or so…) or whatever, and just happen to run across something with a title or subject that sounds like it’s related to this stuff, I probably would be most appreciative to have it.

The same goes for anyone out there who is trimming their own overflowing stock of books and is looking for a good home for some…

* – I think I’ve mentioned this one before…

[1] Canh DS, Horák J, Kotyk A, Ríhová L.:”Transport of acyclic polyols in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.”; Folia Microbiol (Praha). 1975;20(4):320-5.
[2] Shih IL, Van YT.:”The production of poly-(gamma-glutamic acid) from microorganisms and its various applications.”; Bioresour Technol. 2001 Sep;79(3):207-25.

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The Author is (currently) an autodidactic student of Industrial and Environmental microbiology, who is sick of people assuming all microbiology should be medical in nature, and who would really like to be allowed to go to graduate school one of these days now that he's finished his BS in Microbiology (with a bonus AS in Chemistry). He also enjoys exploring the Big Room (the one with the really high blue ceiling and big light that tracks from one side to the other every day) and looking at its contents from unusual mental angles.

2 thoughts on “Nerd Reading Spasm!”

  1. If you’re ever really stuck when looking for an article, I may be of some service. I work right across the street from the Linda Hall Library. Their resources are amazing. I have to be careful not to visit too often…

    Also, it’s powered by geothermal energy. It was very interesting to see those installed.

  2. I may take you up on that, if I run into any I can’t find…

    The article on caffeine and macroautophagy that I’ve been wanting to get my hands on is scheduled to become available to the public – finally – next month (1 year after its original publication), so I don’t have much longer to wait. Still, if you happen to find that they subscribe to the journal Autophagy over there, I’d be happy to save a few weeks and get an earlier copy.

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