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Week 3: I’ve got no strings

       This week I felt a lot more confident in threw me off a little bit, due to the holiday in the middle of the week. Before this point, I never thought I would confuse Wednesday with Sunday. But nonetheless, the work continued and the day off gave the bacteria an extra day to grow.

      Monday brought new results concerning my experiment testing the light vs. dark samples. We were very surprised when we unveiled the dark samples to discover more advanced growth from the dark samples. A possible explanation might be that light has UV rays that can cause the reduction of manganese oxides, essentially reversing the manganese oxidation process.  The experiment regarding the different carbon sources resulted in manganese oxidation in all of the samples, suggesting at least some carry-over of the rich media the cells were originally grown it. To determine how well they were growing, I plated the samples to show rough numbers of cells. I also started an experiment testing whether or not manganese oxidation is necessary to break down the carbon source.
      On Tuesday, the results of the plates show almost a full lawn of bacterial growth, except on the plate without a carbon source. This tells me that I need to further dilute my samples, in order to be able to count them accurately. For the rest of the day, I created plates with the different carbon sources, so we could see how results would stack up on a solid media.
      Wednesday was a great 4th of July, and a nice mental break in the middle of the week. I hope everyone had a good holiday!
      It was back to the daily grind on Thursday. The test determining if manganese oxidation was necessary for growth was inconclusive and did not show any growth, which was odd. Something must have gone wrong, so I redid the experiment, paying more attention to each individual step. I also put my new carbon source plates to the test, using the mutant and wildtype variations of putida. And because my mentor and I were still in the relaxed mindset, we took an impromptu trip out to the field around our building to survey the environment for plant material degraders, in hopes of finding a species similar to our putida GB-1.
      On Friday, there was a good amount of growth in the experiment testing manganese oxidation, so that was reassuring. I also noticed that it seemed like there might be more growth in the wildtype with the addition of manganese. After one day of my bacteria being plated on different carbon sources, all wildtype bacteria were starting to oxidize, except on the glucose plate. This suggests that the oxidation of manganese is used to help gain energy when starving. All of the interns had a seminar today as well. Veronika Megler came to speak about her career path and all of the life lessons she learned along the way. It was an amazing journey, in my opinion, and it taught me a lot as well. It put my priorities and expectations in perspective and showed me that the cookie-cutter career path should not be expected, or necessarily desired. It was a great end to the week, and I’m feeling very confident about my skills and project in general.