What I love most about science is that it is made up of basic building blocks; including elements in chemistry and cells in biology. When it comes to the chemical aspect, different molecules are made up of different elements which also exhibit different atom connectivity. These different elements and bonds behave in different manners both physically and chemically (i.e while two molecules might have the same ratio of elements, they may react differentely based off the bond strengths and differences. This concept of science is what I continuously have to think about in my research.
Before being able to even test for our goal, the most important part is the formulation. If the formulation is not homogeneous, meaning evenly spread out, our results will not be as accurate. For example, if we test a portion of our samples that has more/less of the components that affects bacterial results, this will skew our results. While one oil and butter mixture may evenly disperse, another may not. Thus, it is important to perform many literatures searches as to why this happens. Do the two oils have different polarities? Different solubilities? Different melting points/boiling points? Different bond strengths? Different densities? What are the differences in their chemical makeup? These are only some of the questions that need to be answered when figuring out why two things behave differently, and why one works better over the other. If we are able to pin point some of the advantages within a substance to be antimicrobial and a UV protectant, this will lead us to a more efficient experiment. This is why literature searches are very important. Science is very much a collaborative field and it’s vital to dissect past research in the concentration.
As of today, we have about a few dozen formulations that are active against killing bacteria as well as acting as a natural sunscreen. Since we now have a good amount of positive, and negative results, we are in the process of differentiating the good from the bad and starting to answer those questions. I am excited to pin point the “perfect” formulation and order new exotic oils/butters to test!