Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer 2013 Internship: Joint Post #3 from Kala Marks and Curtis Okolovitch

Greetings from Tallahassee!

We’re just finishing up a great week down at FSU. Curtis and I were accompanied by Xiaoxu Sun, a PhD student in Joel Kostka’s lab, and Dr. Kuki Chin, a professor at Georgia State University. After two weeks of letting our cultures grow and eat the oil, we finally were able to analyze total petroleum hydrocarbons. For the first couple of days we extracted the oil from our cultures. We added dichloromethane, which is a solvent that is soluble with oil but not water, to a separatory funnel with the liquid media from our cultures. This separated the oil from the liquid media, so we were able to extract only the hydrocarbon components from the sample (pictured below). After a series of filtering, purifying, and concentrating steps, we analyzed the data on the gas chromatograph (GC). This was a long process and took about 12 hours. Luckily the GC had an autosampler, so we didn’t have to do anything! The next day or so was spent analyzing the data. So far things look pretty good, we saw an overall decrease in total petroleum hydrocarbons between the two treatments and the controls. Next step is to get everything set up here at GT! We had a great time and learned a lot down at FSU. Thanks to Chris Hagan for teaching us the method and to Dr. Markus Huettel for letting us use the equipment!

The bottom layer is the oil/dichloromethane (solvent) mixture. We only extracted this part for the GC analysis.

Curtis and Kala mixing the separatory funnels to extract out all of the oil.

Oil and dichloromethane extract ready to be concentrated down to 1 mL.

Kala adding dichloromethane to the separatory funnel.

The concentrated oil samples, which were ready to be analyzed by the GC.

Curtis and Kala analyzing the results from the GC.

Posted By:
Curtis & Kala (a.k.a. “The Deep-C Duo”)
Georgia Tech

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