Cam Davidson-Pilon


Bad statistician turned even worse food scientist. CEO/Founder of Pioreactor. Former Director of Data Science at Shopify. Cameron's background includes mathematics, statistics, and computer science (topics blogged at He is the author of "Bayesian Methods for Hackers". Cameron now explores the alt-protein space.

Cameron Davidson-Pilon

Posts by Cam Davidson-Pilon

A bioreactor for everyone

When I first got started in fermentation, I was a bit lost. There’s no “how to learn fermentation 101” Medium articles, unfortunately. I think most people learn via their academic bac...

In bioreactor-project, Mar 08, 2021

Building a bioreactor, part 3: tracking growth rates in real time

Part of our bioreactor project depends on the ability to track microbial population sizes. If you read our last blog article, you’ll know that we measure the population size by the am...

In data-science, bioreactor-project, Nov 25, 2020

Building a bioreactor, part 2: Vessel and structure

The first part of building our bioreactor will focus on the container for the glass vial. The original designs for this are from another open-source project (and research article), “A...

In bioreactor-project, Oct 20, 2020

Building a bioreactor, part 1: Introduction

Let’s jump right into what even is a bioreactor. My friend Luiggi said it best: an example of a bioreactor is your sourdough starter. It’s full of microbes, you keep it protected from...

In bioreactor-project, Sep 18, 2020

little mold hyphae everywhere

Though not the traditional way to propagate, you can use submerged or liquid cultures to grow molds and fungi. This has been a recent change in mushroom propogation too: more and more...

In Sep 09, 2020

Fermenting seaweed to taste like anchovies: Part 1

As part of the plant-based anchovy project, my work partner, Stephanie, and I have been experimenting with seaweed to match the flavours of canned anchovies. Different seaweed species...

In anchovy project, Sep 03, 2020

The core piece in my incubator is the Inkbird temperature controller. It’s a very simple device: a thermometer measures the temperature of the incubator (or substrate), and when a pre...

In data-science, Jun 30, 2020

Microbe miso (yeast & algae)

Miso is made up of [source of protein & carbs] + koji + salt. Traditionally, that [source of protein & carbs] is soybean, but modern misos use chickpeas, beans, mushrooms, or ...

In koji, Jun 09, 2020

Time-lapse of quinoa tempeh burgers

I recently got my hands on some Rhizopus Oryzae spores from Traditionally, R. oryzae has been used to make tempeh. I’ve been making soy tempeh at home, which has bee...

In tempeh, Jun 06, 2020

Measuring cell density using a Secchi stick (and lots of math)

In liquid-state fermentation, like yeast, bacteria or algae cultures, one of the most important metrics is cell density, that is, how many cells there are per mL. This metric gives y...

In data-science, May 24, 2020

Algae as a plant-based anchovy flavour - success!

Last week, I started my experiments on a plant-based anchovy. I mentioned that algae was a possible interesting flavourant to add a “fishy” flavour. I have been culturing some algae (...

In anchovy project, May 14, 2020

The start of a plant-based anchovy

A long term goal of mine is to create a plant-based canned anchovy substitute. My market research has shown me that everyone is asking for this! Kidding, of course. The anchovy market...

In anchovy project, May 07, 2020

Protease assay: experiment 1

Part of many fermentations is having enzymes break down the substrate into compounds that either i) taste good (proteins → individual amino acids in misos and soy sauces), ii) feed ot...

In experiments, Apr 28, 2020

But why does koji make lactase?

An interesting question came up on the Koji subreddit about if one can make lactose-free milk at home using koji. The thread has some interesting replies, but in this article I want t...

In koji, Apr 23, 2020

Adding a mineral solution to koji fermentation: experiment 1

The team at Escarpment Labs, a Canadian yeast supplier, put in my head the idea of “be nice to your yeast - treat them like your pets”. I like this idea, specifically when it comes to...

In experiments, koji, Apr 15, 2020

Controlling bacterial growth in fermentation with hurdle technology and survival analysis

This article is a nice intersection of some of the topics I've been thinking about lately: bacteria, food, and survival analysis. This was first posted on my statistics website, DataO...

In safety, data-science, Apr 12, 2020

Adding koji to bread dough

The main components of flour, starches and gluten, can be modified using enzymes to change the color, flavour and mouthfeel of finished bread. Here’s an application of barley koji to ...

In bread, Mar 14, 2020

Growing koji at home

We’ll go through the steps required to make your own koji - without using koji-kin (spores). You’ll still need a source of the koji, but that can be from inoculated rice you’ve prev...

In koji, Feb 14, 2020

The many enzymes produced by Aspergillus Oryzae

These are my (incomplete and possibly inaccurate) notes on the enzymes found in Aspergillus Oryzae. Will be updated occasionally.

In koji, Jan 15, 2020