23rd June 2010 – the 24 hour time series experiment

Since my last post I have been doing three things. Firstly, I have been perfecting the perfect houmous pitta sandwich (the key, if you want to know, is to mash roasted peppers into the houmous and keep turning the pitta in the toaster so it gets evenly crispy, then garnish with lots of tomatoes and watercress). Secondly, I have been packing and preparing for Malaysia but more of that later. Thirdly, I have been dealing with a rather tricky GC-MS problem, which is now solved, and preparing for an experiment.

You can see my latest post on the EDP Environment blog here for my discussion of experimental preparations etc.

The experiment started this morning, 5:30am to be exact when I got to uni and started setting everything up. Why 5:30am?? Well, I want to take measurements at hours 3, 6, 12 and 24 and so by starting at 6am I can sample at 9am, 12am and 6pm – leaving not too late and squeezing in the England football match in the middle! I started by filtering my seaweed and putting roughly even amounts into sterile flasks with fresh seawater. I also made a control flask of just seawater so I can monitor the effect of the seaweed relative to a ‘blank’ value. I then sealed the flasks and prepared the GC-MS by running a couple of blank samples and also a standard (addition of a known concentration of the compound of interest) to make sure it is all running OK. Now I’m sitting down for a quick coffee and to check my emails before starting analysis at 9am.

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