Dec 03 2013

Yours, mine, or ours?

Published by at 7:02 am under Uncategorized

Firstly, my apologies for having not blogged in a very, very long time, but life got hectic and I tend to get forgetful when that happens. So here begins the first post of a sequence of several to follow within the following week and half.

Since my last blogging adventure, a lot has happened. After selecting a plaque from a serial dilution of my ninth sample, I proceeded to run my three rounds of purification, which included unfathomable numbers of arthrobacter plates and serial dilutions. These steps ran very smoothly, so smoothly in fact that I had a nagging feeling that something must have gone wrong (let’s be honest here, when has anything in this research project run smoothly without one single kink?). I guess you could say I was right. Somehow, between rounds 2 and 3 of my purifications, the phage I had been purifying became contaminated by Yazmine’s hulk-strong phage; and thus, the phage I had been purifying was no more :(.
Unfortunately, I did not realize this at the time and continued to perform the next few steps as if everything was normal. There were a few passing suspicions that we were both working with the same phage based on plaque size and the distinctive halo which formed around each lysogenic spot; however our titers were so drastically different that those suspicions were, for the most part, ignored. Even if we had caught the mistake at this point in the process, there wasn’t much that could have been done about it since all of the old plates containing my phage had been disposed of and it was already too far into the semester to begin again from the soil sample.
Needless to say this has been an interesting experience, but informative nevertheless as I am now aware of just how little it takes for contamination to occur and have become much more aware of my aseptic technique. This has also allowed me to see the variation that can exist between experiments even when they are done using the same methodology. While this may not have turned out like it was intended to, if everything always went as it was supposed to in a scientific experiment, the scientific community would miss out on the numerous numbers of innovations that have stemmed from mishaps. While it is still disappointing that I wasn’t able to analyze my own unique phage, I am still glad that I was able to contribute some assistance to the isolation and purification of Yazmine’s ultra-phage, Amigo, who now going to be sent off for sequencing. Adios Amigo! See you next semester.

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply