Biohacking the Microbiome with a Kimchi Inspector

David Perlmutter’s new book “Brain Maker – The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life” provides a plethora of reasons to look closer at which probiotics you are consuming. David provides a list of the top five probiotics which can be taken in supplement for or found in specific foods. I found this list to be the most valuable of the book as he describes the specific attributes each bacteria can offer in terms of wellness optimization.
The top five types of bacteria that Perlmutter recommends in his book Brain Maker are the following:
  1. Lactobacillus plantarum – Found in kimchi and sauerkraut this bacteria is most beneficial for protecting the gut lining through reducing inflammation and controlling pathogenic bacteria.
  2. Lactobacillus acidophilus – Found in yogurt this bacteria helps with cholesterol, milk digestion and the production of vitamin K.
  3. Lactobacillus brevis – Found in sauerkraut and pickles this bacteria boost BDNF, combats vaginosis and can inhibit certain gut pathogens.
  4. Bifidobacterium lactis – Found in fermented milk products this bacteria has been shown effective in boosting immunity and disabling pathogens such as salmonella.
  5. Bifidobacterium longum – This one we usually pick up at birth. It is associated with improved lactose tolerance, reducing diarrhea and food allergies. Just like L. brevis this one enhances BDNF production.

These probiotics can be sourced commercially in powder and pill form. Here are three off-the-shelf options which contain at least four of the five of the recommended bacteria strains from above:

  1. Garden of Life – Primal Defence ULTRA – Recommended by Labdoor as a top pick based on independent laboratory testing this is the most affordable option. This is the only one which contains all five of the recommended probiotics. (90 pills – $33)
  2. Physician’s Choice Probiotics 60 Billion – Includes prebiotic fibers. Slightly more expensive (30 pills – $20)
  3. Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic 100 Billion CFU – Relatively expensive for this high strength powdered version. I like that it can be added to smoothies or used for enemas in this form. (60 servings – $76).

Finally, the DIY method is to make your own sauerkraut or kimchi at home to produce lactobacillus plantarum and lactobacillus brevis. This provides some gut lining protection, BDNF (brain growth) and can inhibit some bad gut guys. There is no shortage of fermentation assistant devices on the Adafruit Blog. Almost all of these are using heating elements, a temperature sensor and a controller. However,  the thing to be concerned with when fermenting something as easy as a kraut is mold. Here I’ll describe the steps to setup a Raspberry Pi with a microscope so that the ferment can be monitored and screenshots easily taken.

Setting up the USB Microscope – 5MP 220x 8 LEDs

  • plug in microscope to a Raspberry Pi running the latest Raspbian
  • run the command lsusb which should show the following device:
  • “Z-Star Microelectronics Corp. Venus USB2.0 Camera”
  • install these packages to take snapshots, view the photos and stream the data
    • sudo apt-get install fswebcam fim motion
  • to take a still run fswebcam with these arguments:
    • fswebcam -r 1600×1200 image.jpg
  • to view the image run:
    • fim image.jpg
  • to setup streaming of a USB CAM on Raspbian we need to customize the /etc/motion/motion.conf
  • sudo nano /etc/motion/motion.conf
    • daemon on
    • stream_localhost off
    • output_pictures off
    • ffmpeg_output_movies off
    • stream_maxrate 100
    • framerate 100
    • width 1600
    • height 1200
  • sudo nano /etc/default/motion
    • start_motion_daemon=yes
  • daemon control
    • sudo service motion start
    • sudo service motion stop
    • sudo service motion restart
  • connect from another machine on your network to the pi’s webstream – paste the IP address followed by :8081 into your web browser:
    • http://<YOUR IP>:8081




Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.