Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer 2013 Internship: Joint Post #4 from Kala Marks and Curtis Okolovitch

Our week back from Tallahassee has been very busy! After analyzing the data from our cultures, Kala and I presented our findings at our weekly lab meeting and discussed the results. Though we haven’t yet reached any solid conclusions, our data revealed some interesting trends. For one, there was an overall decrease in the average total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) in the inoculated cultures relative to the control, meaning both species of bacteria are eating the oil. However, much of the data did not prove to be statistically significant. In response, we have been preparing for a new experiment in which we grow Alcanivorax sp. and Acinetobacter sp. similarly to our previous experiment, but in a greater amount of the Macondo oil. Through this experiment we hope to achieve similar results but with greater significance.

This week, we also spent time learning how to operate our own Gas Chromatograph with Flame-Ionization Detection (GC-FID). We will be using this device in a few weeks to analyze our new cultures. Since we don’t have an autosampler, we have to manually inject our samples, meaning it will be a long process. But we are on our way and making progress!

This is the GC-FID which we will use to analyze TPHs in our upcoming experiment. It has a port on the top in which we inject the extracted hydrocarbons to be vaporized, burned, and then detected by the machine.

Until Next Time,
Kala & Curtis (a.k.a. “The Deep-C Duo”)
Georgia Tech

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