Fourth Week

Fourth Week

This week I am learning how to perform the methanol extraction. Corticosterone has an affinity for methanol and can be extracted rather quickly from a feather. Additionally, methanol is volatile and can easily evaporate and leave behind the CORT. A CORT sample can be ready within a week. We utilized a shaking water bath and a sonicating water bath to facilitate the extraction.

We have begun a preliminary experiment using excess feathers from the sample set. Hopefully, everything will go according to plan, and we can get a good sense of how many feathers we will need per sample. One issue that has come up is whether it is necessary to mince the already-minuscule body feathers. While more surface area maximizes CORT extraction, retrieving the dry mass for mercury analysis later will be very difficult.

There was a problem that came up with the UV-vis data. There are artificial peaks that are very large and will affect our analysis. The professor who owns the spectrometer is also absent for the next few weeks. I have been going through the data and have begun to cut out and replace the artificial peaks manually. This is even more tedious than scanning the feathers. I have spent most of my time on my computer rather than in the lab.