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Weeks 9 and 10: Writing

I spent the last two weeks of my internship finishing up some final experiments, writing my summary report, and working on my poster. The intern poster symposium was at the end of my ninth week, so I had to have most of my research done by that point so I could present it.The bulk of these two weeks has been spent organizing and polishing my data sheets so they are understandable by other people, writing up procedures, cleaning up my glassware and lab bench, and working on my report.It has been a great summer and I am very thankful for the opportunity I got to do research here.

Week 8: Getting Data

This week I continued to measure the stability and reactivity of the manganese pyrophosphate, citrate, DFOb, and malate solutions I made last week. I also started a new experiment to study the interaction of manganese oxides (MnOx) with sodium ligands. This involved making up solutions of sodium oxalate, pyruvate, formate, citrate, pyrophosphate, and acetate, and then adding manganese oxides. Fine suspensions of manganese oxide minerals in solution look a lot like muddy water, but the oxides can be easily removed by filtration.

Week 7: Measuring Ligand Stability

This week I remade each of the manganese ligands that I’ve studied so far this summer and tested their stabilities over time. After going through my lab notebook record I picked the method for making each one that had worked the best. I made the manganese oxalate and manganese malate by using the acid version of the ligand combined with ammonium bicarbonate, degasing with argon, and adding manganese acetate.

Week 6: Method Comparison

This week I tried another method of making manganese ligands. It involves combining manganous sulfate (MnSO4) with the sodium version of a ligand, such as sodium pyrophosphate or sodium citrate, and then adding potassium permanganate (KMnO4). I was able to make manganese citrate and pyrophosphate this way, but the reaction did not work for EDTA.  After six weeks of making and testing manganese ligands, I have several different methods that work for making manganese citrate and manganese pyrophosphate.

Week 5: Making Manganese Ligands

This week I tried more reactions for making some manganese ligands, most of which did not work. Last week I was able to make manganese oxalate by combining ammonium bicarbonate and oxalic acid and then adding manganese acetate. This procedure did not work for the other ligands I tested, although I am hoping to try it next week with formic acid and pyruvic acid. I also added potassium permanganate to benzoic, citric, and ascorbic acids, but this method was not productive either, although I tried several variations of the procedure.

Week 4: More Manganese

This week I continued to study manganese ligands. After a lot of research, I had the opportunity to try a different way of making manganese oxalate than the procedure we used last week. The new method produced a dark pink solution of manganese oxalate, and it was stable for about 30 minutes.

Week 3: Solutions

I continued to study the manganese ligand solutions this week. We are waiting for one last chemical to come in before we can start measuring superoxide, but we are hoping to be able to begin that next week. I learned more procedures for making manganese solutions, including manganese pyrophosphate, which is a pink solution, and manganese desferoxamine, which is dark green.

Week 2: Tests

During this second week I got the opportunity to run the tests on my own that I learned how to do last week with my mentor. It was a good reminder of the importance of keeping a detailed lab notebook, as I had to refer back to it a lot to get all the details of how to make the solutions correctly. That took two days, and after that I started making solutions of manganese ligands. I did this by first making solutions of sodium ligands, such as sodium oxalate, and then adding a solution of manganese pyrophosphate, which would then bind to the oxalate ligand.

Week 1: The Learning Curve

I am an undergraduate intern working in Dr. Brad Tebo's lab and my mentor is Dr. Matthew Jones. During the first week I worked on my literature review and learned how to perform a variety of tests. So far I've used oxidation of leucoberbelin blue to measure MnOx, Amplex red and horse radish peroxidase to measure hydrogen peroxide, and formaldoxime to measure the total amount of manganese in a sample. The goal of my project is to study the interactions between manganese, microbes, and oxygen, and an important part of that is being able to measure manganese and various oxygen species.

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