Throughout the second part of the summer, Dr. Mojica and I continued our studies on the chromatographic analysis of bee propolis. We were able to perform an extraction method on our samples using ultra-sonication and further analyze those using GC-MS. With our database, we were able to identify the separated components and further compare them to the extractions that were not completed through ultra-sonication. Different types of solvents were used in the extractions in which we were able to observe solvent effects. From here we were able to perform two different assays. One being a colorimetric assay using the Folin-Ciocalteu reagent which allows us to determine the total phenol content in the samples. The other one is a free radical scavenging assay which helps us determine the antioxidant activity. For both of these methods, the absorbance of each sample was obtained using the UV-Vis spectrometer.
Overall, working on this project has had a positive impact on my learning experience. I learned different types of extractions that can be done on samples as well as different solvents that can be used. With the use of our database from the GC-MS instrument, I have been able to further analyze results and interpret them more clearly. Likewise, using the UV-Vis spectrometer allowed me to gain knowledge in understanding the results and further apply them to the research I am performing. A newer part of this project that I was unfamiliar with were the two assays that were implemented. The incorporation of these methods allowed me to step out of my comfort zone in the lab and try a new technique in order to take my research to the next level. I was able to learn the methods and the purpose of them which became beneficial in analyzing the results. Moving forward, I plan to continue to work on this project with Dr. Mojica to perform more assays and extractions.
My research topic is on the chromatographic analysis of bee propolis. Propolis is a natural substance that bees utilize for a variety of different reasons, one being to protect the hive from outside diseases and contamination. When a bee interacts with the bud of a plant, it mixes its wax with the plants exudate and the mixture formed is raw propolis. This material is known as a natural medicine due to its various biological properties that are beneficial to human health. Some of these include antibacterial, antioxidative, antiviral, antimicrobial, anti tumor and many more. The use of this can help cure common cold, sore throat, infections, and skin injuries and even boost the immune system. Another uniqueness to this substance is that the composition of such material varies in every sample that is collected. The type of bee, species of plant, location, and weather are just a few factors that have an effect on the chemical composition of a specific sample.
The study of propolis has been an ongoing development for many years which allows me to obtain information from other literature works to keep in mind while my project progresses. The goal of this project is to determine the composition of different samples by separating and identifying the components using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In addition, common extraction methods (solvent extraction, microwave extraction, Soxhlet, and ultra-sonication) will be performed to determine the most efficient method. We will also perform determination of volatile components using head space technique. GC-MS which is one of the most popular analytical instruments used by scientists around the world for different separations and identifications will also be used for this analysis. Working with this instrument will allow me to gain more expertise which can be helpful when I apply to the chemical industry in the near future. I would like to thank Dr. Mojica for allowing me the opportunity to work in his group this past year and the semesters to come. I would also like to thank Pace University for the grant given to me to help me further my studies in the research lab.