music; ambience: grinding of mortar and pestle
Scientists find out things by doing experiments and testing their ideas. And once an experiment is designed it has to be carried out meticulously; the slightest mistake can spoil the data and the experiment. Welcome to Pulse of the Planetâ€™s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.
â€œToday weâ€™re going to extract a compound from the seaweed, and for this weâ€™ll have to go through different steps through a protocol.â€
Ben Quguineur is a PhD student at the Irish Seaweed Center, National University of Galway in Ireland. Heâ€™s working with seaweed, looking for compounds which might be useful for nutritional or pharmaceutical purposes. And so heâ€™s designed an experiment to begin an analysis. But first Ben has to prepare his materials.
â€œThere is very few lights in the lab because lots of molecules are light sensitive, and thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m gonna work partly in the dark today. The whole purpose of today will be to extract these compounds from the seaweed. First, weâ€™re gonna physically grind the seaweed. Then, weâ€™re gonna mix it in the solvent.â€
Before the seaweed is ground is has to be washed, dried and weighed.
â€œBecause, of course, the protocol is based on a certain amount of seaweed.â€
Once dried and weighed into precise amounts, samples are labeled and then frozen solid with liquid nitrogen, so that they can be easily ground up into tiny particles.
ambience: grinding of mortar and pestle
â€œIâ€™m grinding the seaweed at the moment. The seaweed is completely frozen, and itâ€™s breaking like tiny glass.â€
Weâ€™ll follow the process of Benâ€™s experiment in a future program. Please visit pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planetâ€™ Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. Iâ€™m Jim Metzner