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iLabs: Update on Vinegar Eels and the Vinegar Experiment

January 10, 2013

Well time has passed since I started following bottles of apple cider vinegar in my little experiment to answer the question:

“If I buy unpasteurized apple cider vinegar from the grocery store, will vinegar eels hatch in that bottle, and if so, how soon?”

I was just getting ready to give a 9 month update on this project when I was told I had missed a question by a reader  from last March. It appears that person was seeking information on my project and had questions of her own:

Hi, I am really interested in vinegar eel. I was homemaking apple cider vinegar from apple juice and today I removed the mother of vinegar out. When I looked at my newly produced apple cider vinegar, I have noticed billions of moving worms. I was shocked not knowing what it was and how harmful they are…. So I am following your experiment and wondering what will happen?

My response to her and my update to you all:

Hi! First, my apologies for not responding sooner. I obviously missed your comment. I am glad you are following us and want to update you on things. I will be putting up a post shortly that notes that at 9 months of following 5 brands of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, only the one bottle of apple cider vinegar out of all the bottles I tested ever went positive. All other bottles, whether stored in the light or the dark, and even a new bottle of the same brand that went positive for vinegar eels the first time, all remain negative at this point. So that one positive result was a rarity.

What I know of vinegar eels is that they are not parasitic, but free-living nematodes. Their eggs are everywhere in the environment — in the soil, water, etc. — so not a surprise that home-made cider vinegar might have them.

Perhaps you can find instructions for how to pasteurize your vinegar? Boil it? And thus that might eliminate them. My best to you in your efforts!

So that is where things stand. Turbatrix aceti, a.k.a. “Vinegar eel” has NOT made an appearance in any other bottles of apple cider vinegar to date.  🙂

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