Thursday, January 30, 2014

Harvesting Color Part II: failed experiment

Today is color day. All of the colors below have been extracted from different forms of French Marigold. Color, color, color lots of color! After letting the flowers soak over the weekend we unwrapped them from the foil that was protecting from light damage and strained them. 
After straining we had four vials (yellow/dried, yellow/fresh, orange/dried, orange/fresh) plus three for our control group (two lutein supplements and one beta-carotene). We then did a thin layer chromatography (TLC) to compare lutein levels in all of our samples. Using special TLC sheet we applied the extract in small dots adding up to ten layers to build up color. We then placed the sheets in a solvent as the liquid moves up the sheet it brings with it the lutein. Typically you would then compare the samples with some simple math, measuring from the starting line to the substance spot divided by the measure from the staring line to the solvent front. For reasons we have not yet discovered the experiment failed and the only substance to move up was the beta-carotene. We will retest next week, until then enjoy the pictures!

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