At last, we have reached the end of this series on the “internship” that is no longer an internship. If you didn’t read the series, you should start at Part I. The point of this blog series is to illustrate some of the work that I have done and things that I have learned. Since this is a real, ongoing, study involving accredited universities (University of Maryland and Maryland University of Integrative Health), I am not disclosing all materials and methods, analysis, or results.
This last portion of the experiment I have been participated in involved testing botanical extracts against various bacteria, yeast, and mold. Specifically, I got to test hydro-alcoholic extracts of Echinacea purpurea (commonly known as Purple Coneflower or Echinacea), of varying strengths to see if it inhibited growth of the bacterias, yeast, and mold. To do this, I created dilutions using 3 different Echinacea tinctures to inoculate, incubate, and interpret results from 3M Petrifilms.
I learned aseptic lab techniques while carrying out the study discussed in Part II of this series. This time around, it was even more important because I was handling petrifilm loaded with yeast and mold spores, and one with E.Coli (yuck!). Having the experience gained from the first round made it much easier to confidently carry out the steps while limiting exposure. Some of the additional daily tasks involved taking ambient temperatures, monitoring samples, counting colonies, and reporting results.
I won’t go into all the nerdy details since more will be written (and it’s really the school’s place to properly publish the study and get credit for it). For now here are some pics of what I’ve been learning and doing.