Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer 2013 Internship: Joint Post #2 from Kala Marks and Curtis Okolovitch

After just two weeks of growth, our cultures are finally ready to be analyzed! You can even see a more profound difference between our two cultures than last week. Alcanivorax (Figure 1 on the left) has formed these large clumps of biomass around small oil droplets. Acinetobacter (Figure 1 on the Right) seems to have formed larger oil droplets that float independently of one another. Next week, we will be at Florida State University, where we will learn how to extract the remaining oil from the inoculum and quantify the total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) using Gas Chromatography. Using this data, we can see how much of the Macondo oil these bacteria have degraded.

Figure 1. These are our cultures on the 10th day after their inoculation. On the right is Acinetobacter sp., and on the left is Alcanivorax sp.
In addition, we have spent our free time this week extracting DNA from water samples of the Pensacola area sent from the University of West Florida. From this sample DNA, we amplify the (SSU) 16S RNA gene using PCR and then send it off for sequencing. This highly conserved sequence is involved in the coding for the small ribosomal subunit and is often used to determine phylogenetic trees. With these DNA sequences, we hope to continue profiling the microbial community in the coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico.

Figure 2. This is a picture of a gel containing the amplified 16S RNA gene sequences of some of our samples.
Until next time,
Curtis & Kala (a.k.a. “The Deep-C Duo”)
Georgia Tech

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