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QUESTION

Why is the erlynmeyer style flask the automatic go to for yeast starters? I know people use other containers besides flasks, and some flasks dont have flat bottoms but is there something special about the shape or angle of the sides? Just thought this was a good question to throw out there and see what comes back!

{ asked by Ryan Shdo }

ANSWER

Speaking from experience as a molecular biologist. Erlynmeyer flasks are nice for a couple of reasons. The main alternative being a standard beaker which is essentially the same size at the top and the bottom. First off the neck size makes it easy to hold in the hand. Second a smaller opening reduces the chance of getting airborne material into the flask. Third try swirling around some liquid in a normal beaker and then an erlynmeyer flask, the narrow neck on the flask keeps the liquid inside the vessel better than a beaker. Fourth, when doing biological cultures you want to keep the media aerated and the wide bottom of the flask allows you to keep a high surface area with which to introduce air. Finally, the narrow neck allows us to use smaller stoppers which reduce the chance of contamination.

Altogether these reasons are why we use erlynmeyer flasks in the lab.

{ answered by Chris Plaisier }
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