Over the past months, the main progress made has been the preparation and testing of the individual samples of propolis from England, Greece, Portugal, Russia, Latvia, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Lithuania. The preparation of the samples involved creating an extract through sonication of the propolis in ethanol and subsequent filtration. One unexpected outcome was that some of the samples, after sonication, had hardened into a thick, paste-like mixture. The samples only required additional heat to ultimately be filtered to prepare extracts, though it was interesting that only some samples displayed this feature. We assume that this characteristic of the unique samples is a product of differences in the additional components of propolis such as beeswax, which we were intending on removing as part of preparing the extract.
Once all the samples’ extracts were prepared, we began performing the different assays to measure the antioxidant activity, phenolic content, and flavonoid content. Each assay needs to be performed several times to ensure that the data collected is accurate. For each assay, we tested serial dilutions of each sample extract to more accurately quantify the extent to which the reagents of the assay interact with the compounds in the extracts. Moving forward, more assays will be done to ensure accurate data and then the data obtained can be analyzed to look for trends and relationships.