Thus far I’ve spent more time writing procedures over all than doing anything else for this project. It seems so simple to just figure out how much of a substance is in another substance. But as I’m discovering even the process to quantify something as basic as sugars in our algae is incredible confusing and complicated. My research to determine a method to quantify monosaccharides in our samples has yielded more than five relevant sources. In these sources I found two separate procedures that overlap and lead to one result: one procedure for determination of total carbohydrates and one procedure, the phenol-sulfuric acid method, that yields the sugar solution that is required to carry out the first procedure. Confused yet? It gets better. Before I can even work on getting the results I need from the algae samples we’re dealing with, I have to run these procedures on stock solutions of water and glucose at eight different concentrations and then graph the results on a curve to establish a baseline to compare my actual results with. On top of that, I will need to learn how to use a photospectrometer. This device shoots light at a wavelength of 490nm through the samples and measures the substances light absorbency. The different levels of absorption is what I would be graphing to make the baseline, and the absorption of my actual algae samples is what I would be comparing to the baseline.
Even worse still, that whole process cannot be done until the procedure to quantify lipids is done, reducing the algae to its base components.
A sense of the things I’m working with: