The Xanthophyll Cycle in Photosystem II

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Let's buy spinach!!!!

Really quick blog post about the purchasing of spinach for my experiments. The key place to go is the market just down the road from Ruban's Lab, Whitechapel market. The reason why we prefer to purchase market spinach compared to supermarket is often the fact that spinach in the market appears more leafy and rich in a mossy green colour, rich mossy green = rich in chloroplast, exactly what we need for this experiment! 

Whitechapel, for those who don't know it is a vibrant, very vivid, diverse part of London. It is the home to Queen Mary's, Bart's and the London Medical & Dental school, it's a place where I sometimes find myself due to lectures. Anyways, this area had a huge migration of Bangladeshi migrants back in the day, so this area has a huge influence with Bangladeshi culture and various of these market stalls are ran my people of Bangladeshi decent. Here are a few pictures, pardon me these pictures are quite terrible, as I tried to take photos without making it obvious that I was actually taking photos:




Yeah an ordinary main road with market stalls running along the sides.

The only problem I have of this market is that most of the stalls don't stock spinach throughout the day and there are set times which spinach is actually available. When the actual availability time for spinach is, no one ever knows exactly, so sometimes you ask for spinach, the stall vendor says an hour, you come back in an hour and there is still no spinach....It's basically playing the waiting game for spinach.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Start Week 7: Buffer Prep

Starting the week preparing my own set of BBY buffers. Oh the joy! *sarcasm*

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the lab but preparing buffers for your actual protocol can be quite mundane. The whole process is essentially weighing and measuring accurately the certain amount of chemicals you need in your buffers etc. A process you compare to actually conducting BBY or results analysis, just doesn't compare with the excitement driven adrenaline levels. Nevertheless, this whole process of buffer prep is crucial to the success of the actual protocol- to yield the desired results as predicted. So no matter how mundane this task may appear to be, disarray the entire buffer preparation and goodbye to your hard work you may spend on your protocol. Every gram, pH set for the buffer could honestly severely disrupt your results.

In short words, every single step matters in science.

Sometimes you may be lucky and a mistake could actually lead to a publication! However, only the ones who are prepared will ever find a success ridden mistake! One of my favourite quotes, clearly portraying such matter belongs to the wise words spoken by Louis Pasteur. Louis Pasteur being famously known for his discovery of vaccination~~~

True, wise words❤ 

Anyways here are some pictures from the day:

Following the instructions for buffer prep. My nice little printed out booklet stuck into my lab book, with the always needed concentration x volume calculation equations !

Cleaning the balance as indicated with the sign, the paint bush really gets to all the nook and cranny

The pH meter, an apparatus which I absolutely dislike using. It's quite slow with detecting the change in pH, so after you've added in your acid/alkali solution it may take like 5 minutes to actually reach it's real pH on the meter. It's definately the part of the buffer preparation which slows me down the most. All the other apparatus, I've gained a technique for being fast and efficient in using them :)

All my buffers completed, labeled and dated, proud to see completion :D

More labels~

MgCl2, used in the buffer prep to aid the further stacking of the thylakoids, to gain a large amount of PSII for analysis.

When normal purified water just won't do. There is always PURELAB! An ultra purified water dispenser. Looks very modern and fancy ;D

PURELAB homescreen. Literally all you need to do is press the bottom which my index finger is pressing.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Browsing at the science museum

This little blog entry will be about the innovative products which I merrily discovered in the science museum.

I love the science museum in South Kensington. It's actually the museum connected and really close to my boyfriend's university, Imperial College London. So I'm always in there or end up taking a friend coming down to London for the day :)

Anyways was waiting for a friend this saturday as we planned to meet for dim sum in South Kensington. She was late so I just wondered into the science museum browsing the shop. There's always cool gimmicks to be found there! Here are the few things I thought were very querky and innovative; products that really caught my attention!

It's a 3 in 1! Chopsticks, fork, knife. This is such a brilliant idea, as many students in the U.K who are constantly saving. Especially with the cost of living as a London student. I'm always trying my best to pack lunch! Something like this would mean I wouldn't have to bring separate metal knifes and fork for when I make salads, sushi, noodles etc. I'm always loving the idea of compact travel items ;)

Another innovative packed lunch product. Brighten up any plain drinking water with a zing of citrus. Citrus fruits being rich in vitamin C, benefits such as strengthen bones and antioxidants; helping you to reduce the development of cancers and certain disease. A good source of nutrients such as fibre and calcium! :)

Think this lunchbox is designed by the same company as the two products above. I always wanted a lunchbox like this, as at home I often cook alot of salads but salads are quite messy to put in ordinary lunchboxes and once inside such lunchboxes, they no longer look appetizing to eat. However, this lunchbox has a green and white healthy theme going on it which would really complement the rich vibrant colours in salads. Also, the little salad sauce area is great addition, no longer would you need to add your dressing immediately when you make packed lunch. So no wet, awful salads for lunch no more! :3

Element cups !!!!:3

Periodic table, think everyone in a biochemistry lab should have one of these. Even if you don't drink hot drinks could be a nice pencil holder? ;D

Salt and pepper shakers.... OMG I LOVE THIS!!! ITS SOOO FUNKY!!! Haha i think anyone who uses conical flasks everyday would find these querky, or maybe find these disgusting in ways? For me I think they're so radical ;D

So these water stones left on your soiled plants will water your homegrown plants. No need to worry about the watering can again! Looks really cool as well, like a massive contact lense on the soil :O

I'm a big fan of stationary and as you can tell from my labbook blog from before I'm really into colour everywhere. These are just too cute with the pill theme going on. Love it <3

Something I probably would buy my child as an aspiring plant scientist :) Even to me this looks very fun as a 20 year old <3

This looks sooo funky!!! When I move house I'll probably buy something like this to put on my desk. I just like looking at plants its just ever so refreshing and part of our natural life :)

Awr, i thought this looked very adorable<3

A t shirt with all the % of elements inside the human body. Pretty nerdy to be honest but I would be impressed at anyone who wore such a thing. I would personally make friends :P

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Week 6 quick update!

Quick Blog update: Had meeting with Professor Ruban himself on Thursday and discovered how to further proceed with my project. He wanted me to run HPLC on my B4 fraction from BBY spinach preparation obtained from FPLC. The de epxodiation I yielded in my A9 fractions, containing PSII supercomplex, was sufficiently lower than expected, lower than that of my isolation of stacked thylakoids, which should not be the case. This means something wasn't right with the prep. He told me to check the HPLC on the B4 fractions (Where the Light harvesting II complexes were situated.) De epoxidation in B4 fractions should be 100%. However, with out HPLC analysis we found values much of 70%, therefore we clearly knew something was wrong with the preparation. 

Now I know for next time: That I must always run HPLC on my B4 fractions, fractions contianing LHCII supercomplexes to see if it is worth the continuation of the BBY spinach preparation past the steps which are identical in protocol to that of isolation of stacked thylakoids.

Furthermore, the increasing the time of stacking time in the BBY medium. Allow the stacking of thylakoids allows more PSII supercomplexes to be present in the preparation as PSII is mainly found in the stacked thylakoids, compared to that of PSII found mainly in the lamellae of the chloroplast.

Anyways enough science talk, some nice pictures taken over the week
Irina's healthy growing Peas, wow from 3 weeks they have grown so much! Check earlier blogs to see how they looked at the start! We are just  putting wooden sticks in to ensure they grow upright and not tangled :) Happy gardening !

Supervising Irina on HPLC analysis~ teaching her the ways!

This is how HPLC data analysis usually goes by. We check each peak and compare with the reference spectra for the pigment, which we know due to the position in eluting time in HPLC. This bit is my favourite part of the entire experiment procedure, analysis and interpreting results. So fun! :)

Bit of the side stuff!

Here is Petra grinding up ivy leaves using  liquid nitrogen. Yes the steam coming off the ivy is liquid nitrogen that Petra has poured on the leaves, freezing them, making them into crystals, easier to grind into pieces.

Petra adding the ivy crystals into a test tube ready for it to be grinded by hand. Everything done under iced conditions again.

Let the grinding games begin! Apparently Petra hates working with Ivy because they are so hard to grind up and get material from. Did you know Ivy is an incredible plant as they can pretty much grow in any light condition possible. Amazing I love ivy now, like the animal elephant, Ivy is my favourite plant now :) Although i must say spinach is more useful in a sense I can eat them and leafy vegetables are great for the eyes!