Turbatrix aceti

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Vinegar eels
Illustration of vinegar eels
Illustration of vinegar eels
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Nematoda
Class: Chromadorea
Order: Rhabditida
Family: Panagrolaimidae
Genus: Turbatrix
T. aceti
Binomial name
Turbatrix aceti
(Mueller, 1783)

Turbatrix aceti (vinegar eels, vinegar nematode, Anguillula aceti) are free-living nematodes that feed on the microbial culture, called mother of vinegar used to create vinegar, and may be found in unfiltered vinegar. They were discovered by Pierre Borel in 1656.[1]

Their environment makes them exceptionally tolerant of variation in acidity and alkalinity and they may be able to tolerate a wider range than any other species, being able to survive from pH 1.6 to 11.[2]

Vinegar eels are often given to fry (baby fish) as a live food, like microworms.[1][3] Although they are harmless and non-parasitic, leaving eels in vinegar is considered objectionable in the United States and is not permitted in vinegar destined for American consumers.[4] Manufacturers normally filter and pasteurize their product prior to bottling, destroying the live bacterial and yeast culture that these nematodes require for sustenance.


  1. ^ a b "The Chesapeake Area Killifish Club: Vinegar Eels". www.chesapeakekillifish.org. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  2. ^ Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Irwin, Louis Neal (2008-10-02). Life in the Universe: Expectations and Constraints. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 57. ISBN 9783540768166.
  3. ^ "Vinegar Eels". web.archive.org. 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  4. ^ "FDA: Sec. 525.825 Vinegar, Definitions - Adulteration with Vinegar Eels (CPG 7109.22)". fda.gov. Retrieved 26 September 2018.

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