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Very similar to this question I would like to know how to best make my Ginger Beer Plant grow. Another but related question would be what the most important factors for growth are. Water? Temperature? Sugar? Citric acid? I would like to not add lots of stuff that would not usually be part of Ginger Beer.

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To grow Saccharomyces and Lactobacillus you need three things:

  • Energy - This comes from sugars and oxygen
  • Fat - This can be, to some extent, synthesized from carbohydrates (sugar) and oxygen
  • Protein - This cannot be created using water, sugar, and citric acid. These things simply does not contain enough nitrogen, not to mention that only specific nitrogen carriers are really accessible to your plant.

As you can see, one of three things is simply missing. Minuscule amount of protein present in ginger root will at best allow your plant to retain it's volume, but it's far from enough to increase it. You need some source of easily accessible amino acids in your nourishment fluid. And no recipe for ginger beer I ever seen included anything like it.

Beer wort is great for that because malt is designed by nature to provide everything needed for growth. Ginger root, on the other hand, was designed by nature as energy source mostly - it can regrow whole plant, but only when actively gathering nitrogen from the ground (oversimplifying, of course). And sugar is exactly nothing but energy source by design. OK, it can be made into fat, but that's only because fat is long-term energy storage by nature's* design.

TL;DR You can't, unless you would use pretty non-standard things anyway.


* I don't care if it was nature. Or if it was anything like design. No philosophy intended.

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  • Thank you. It is just weird that so many people claim to have incredible growth without adding anything special. If I understood you correctly it just can't be true. I don't know why they would then act as if sugar and ginger were enough.. or maybe I do. – Higemaru Nov 25 '15 at 22:16
  • @Higemaru a lot and lot and lot of ginger might work. In theory. Or maybe they are adding yeast nutrient? Malt is up to 12% protein and you use 5kg of it for 20 liters of beer. Ginger is 3 to 6% protein, and how much do you use? Microorganisms are 50% protein, so assuming that they can use and recycle 100% you can calculate max theoretical growth. But in reality they can't... – Mołot Nov 25 '15 at 22:29
  • @Higemaru all % in dry mass. For malt it's about all the same, we want it as dry as feasible... – Mołot Nov 25 '15 at 22:34
  • Yes, it doesn't sound very promising. I think more than 10 times as much ginger as I usually use (and seems about average) would be needed to make up about as much protein as Malt. That would probably render the ginger beer undrinkable.. Thanks, maybe I'll look into malt. – Higemaru Nov 27 '15 at 18:44

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