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2007 Chemistry Abstracts

2007 Research Fair - Chemistry Abstracts

Quantifying and Identifying Carotenoids in Halophilic Archea
by Tenzin Norgyal
(Faculty Sponsor):  Dr. Paul Hooker

Halophilic Archea found in the Great Salt Lake have the ability to survive in hypersaline conditions. The Halophiles which live in the extreme hypersaline environment, upwards of 30% saltwater, must continually regulate the salt concentrations within the cell body. Sunlight provides the energy to the cellular pumps used for sodium ion regulation and thus they inhabit the surface of the lake. The capability of these Halophiles to thrive in the intense exposure to ultraviolet light is a unique property hypothesized to be due to carotenoids contained within them. In this poster, I present the data found from isolating carotenoids from the Halophiles and compare them to the pure forms of the various carotenoids using different methods and instruments. The overall objective of the research is to identify the carotenoids contained in the Halophilic Archea and determine what conditions (temperature, salt concentration, etc.) affect the carotenoid levels.

MD Simulations of Oligonucleotide Duplexes of Peptide Nucleic Acid
by Amberlyn Peterson
(Faculty Sponsor:  Tricia Shepherd)

Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) is a DNA analogue in which the phosphodiester backbone has been replaced by a 2-aminoethyl-glycine backbone that is neutral and achiral. PNA is able to hybridize with high affinity and specificity to Watson-Crick complementary sequences of DNA, RNA, or other PNA strands. Since its discovery, PNA has shown great promise for use in the detection of gene mutations as well as gene-targeted drugs. In order to better understand duplex stability trends observed experimentally, we performed molecular dynamics simulations on PNA-DNA duplexes. In this study, the purine base content of the PNA strand was systematically increased from containing only pyrimidine to only purine bases. Analysis of the duplex energy shows that as the purine content of the PNA strand increases, the duplex becomes more stable. 

Extraction and Isomerization Rates of α-acids for Bittering Beer
by Cindy Spangler
(Faculty Sponsor: Paul Hooker)

Beer is a beverage that has been brewed by many civilizations for thousands of years. For the past four hundred years, hops have been utilized in the brewing process to impart bitterness to the brew – and are now considered essential for creating a balanced and palatable beverage. In this poster we present a study of the extraction and isomerization of the alpha acids from hops – the chemical components of the hop extracts responsible for bittering beer. Alpha acids extracted from hops are isomerized to iso-alpha acids during a protracted boil of the wort. In this study, samples were collected from the boiling wort at ten minute intervals and analyzed for their iso-alpha acid content using solid phase extraction and HPLC.