Thursday, October 15, 2009

Killing time, among other things

Right now I'm in the middle of an assay. I've finished all the hard parts and now I just have to wait for certain time points to collect the data. This assay in particular is call a DPPH assay (DPPH stands for 2,2-Diphenyl-1-Picrylhydrazyl, or really long name for a "stable" free radical). I'm measuring total antioxidant capacity of grape extracts. And since I'm killing time and free radicals, I'm going to explain how it works and what I do!! Fun, no?

So a free radical is a type of chemical molecule that is technically unstable. It has an unbalanced positive charge and will steal it from anywhere it can get it. In your body, it's your cells (which creates damage). Over time, if free radicals aren't "quenched", if could lead to things like cancer, or so they say. The quenching occurs when an antioxidant (which has an extra negative charge) donates an electron to the free radical's cause. It then becomes chemically happy and won't cause any further damage. Photo courtesy of

There are lots of different kinds of antioxidants and there are other assay that measure specific ones (like when I worked with the purple sweet potatoes, one assay I used was a total phenol antioxidant assay). The DPPH assay is a measure of all antioxidant capacity. And in the assay I've been running lately, I've been measuring green tea, black tea, EGCG, red grape extracts and white grape extracts. The grape extracts I've been specifically looking at are Nobel and Carlos which are popular in wine making (which is where we got our extracts).

So in my assay, I make up a solution of DPPH. I put quotes around stable earlier because the inherint nature of free radicals are to be unstable, but DPPH has a known, measurable and linear quenching in the presence of Trolox. So I make a standard curve with the trolox and DPPH solutions. I also make up different dilutions of my grape extracts and add DPPH to them too. I let them incubate in the dark for 90 minutes, taking spectrophotometric readings at 30, 60 and 90 minutes. After I've taken the readings I create my cruve (which is actually a straight line) and compare the values I received from the spectrophotometer (also known as the absorbance) and see where they fall, if at all, on my line. If I've diluted my samples enough, they should fall on that line and then I can tell you how much trolox my sample is equivalent to in quenching DPPH.

Neat, huh? Ok, so I know most of you haven't even made it this far and I'm sorry, but I don't have much else I can do right now. I suppose I could've been blogging about the state fair and the candle I entered into the crafts competition, but I didn't think about that until after I had written this whole long entry. Oh well. I hope to find out if I one anything soon! Look for my candle in the hobbies and handicrafts building (after you get some ice cream at the NCSU Dairy Bar)! It's a white pillar candle with green leaf images stamped onto it and brown ribbon at the top and the bottom of the candle. I hope I win!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


It's funny when you happen to look up and your cat and your husband are sleeping in the same position in different seats. (I was going to take a picture, but as soon as I stood up, Truman moved)

This Thursday and Friday are my fall break and tomorrow we're heading for Asheville. I've never been to the Biltmore Estate and now's a great time to go (hopefully the leaves will be wonderful!)

Also, we recently bought Rockband (as a celebration of Matt's new job). It came with a special Beatles edition game with only Beatles songs on it. It's really great! If anyone wants to come over and "rock out", let us know!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Best date ever

So, Matt and I went on the best date we've ever had. The date started out with me changing my outfit about 20 times (this is no exaggeration) and doing my hair and makeup. We then rushed out the door and headed to Cookout for dinner. I got the BLT, hushpuppies and a shake and Matt got a burger and fries (the perfect dinner). After cookout, we drove over to the fairgrounds, parked on Beryl street and walked over to Carter-Finley stadium where, awaiting us, was this:

After we found our seats (which were pretty bad, surprisingly), a few minutes later the best band ever (in my opinion) took the stage. I cannot believe that I actually saw Muse live in concert! And you know what, they sounded great! They actually sound like their recordings (which very few musicians do), only better. It was kind of sad that the stadium wasn't packed and that I couldn't be closer, but the stage set-up made our crappy seats not so bad. We got some amazing pictures! Muse played for almost an hour!! I couldn't believe it! I was expecting them to play3 maybe 4 songs and then leave. It was a real treat to listen to them for an hour!

Then there was a 30 minute break and then U2 took the stage. Matt is the U2 fan in the family and after listening to their concert, I realized that I knew quite a few of their songs and didn't know it. U2 put on a good show and mostly, I was impressed. I just hated that we were packed into the stands like little sardines. That was the only bad part of the evening.

After U2 was done for real (they leave a few times and came back), we left. This is what we had to wade through:

After we made it out of the stadium, we hoofed it back to our car, where unlike most of the people who parked closer, we got in a car and drove away. There's nothing worse than getting into your car and then sitting in it for 45 minutes to an hour, while you're waiting for the traffic to thin out a little.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening. The temperature was perfect (not hot or cold), the moon was out and there were hardly any clouds. We even got a few snazzy (overpriced) souvenirs. *sigh* It was a perfect date.
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