Blog Post 3: Correlating the flavonoid and phenol content to the antioxidant activity of various European propolis

Since early December, Dr. Mojica and I have focused on collecting and processing as much data as possible and have begun the process of interpreting it such that we can come to a clear conclusion. Over winter break, scheduling was an issue, thought because we were both committed to be this work, we’ve been able to set up out times that we can get work done. Early challenges that we had to work around were troubleshooting when certain protocols that weren’t working. In one instance of an assay not working, we found that the pH of a buffer we were using was too high to facilitate the desired complex formation between reagents and test samples that would produce a measurable color change.  While this was an easy fix, the greater challenges occurred as some results were unexpected in that they did not fit the general trend we were expecting. Specifically, there were countries that displayed high phenolic content and low flavonoid content, though notably variable levels of antioxidant activity and potency. As it is generally expected that high phenol content and high flavonoid content produce strong and potent antioxidant activity, the variability seen in this sample was surprising. Because of this, we’ve considered performing additional tests on the samples to clarify these deviations from the expected trend, though the time constraint is a significant factor in whether or not we will be able to do these tests. Though at times it can be frustrating to get results that don’t align with what was expected, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process of finding ways to elaborate our understanding of the natural products we are working with to have a more comprehensive view of the reasons for the surprises in the data, and I look forward to continuing this work.

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