The Spring 2018 trimester marked my first of three required internships. I wanted at least one of them to be focused on scientific testing and lab work since I have a keen interest in the science behind the plants I study and work with. To meet this goal, I did my first internship with MUIH faculty, on the Microbial Analysis Experiment.
The Microbial Analysis Experiment is a joint experiment between the University of Maryland’s Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) and the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) Dispensary. The research objective of the overarching study is to compare the results of microbial testing conducted in a laboratory setting versus multiple non-laboratory settings that use a bunsen burner to create a sterile field. The study is broken into 3 phases, with my internship occurring during phase 1: the Research Phase.
My assignment was to conduct research remotely to: determine the regulatory requirements for microbial testing, develop the steps for selecting and preparing a laboratory environment in a remote location, and develop a list of materials that would be required to conduct microbial testing in an aseptic home/remote lab. All work was due by April. This research will provide small business owners (me!) with the education necessary to properly test botanical matter. The sanitization techniques are also applicable for product development and manufacturing.
I have included the first deliverable as an example of my work. It is a list of the resources that I found to answer the questions posed. Each of these sources was part of my literature review and provided information as to industry standards for testing, or how to properly prepare a lab environment. Other documents are still being collaboratively worked on. This internship is still ongoing at the time of this posting.
Part II of this post discusses the actual experiment that was conducted during Summer 2018.