15 thoughts on “D29 – Pitsuwan-Meier

  1. Amazing presentation! You really did an awesome job explaining all parts of your experiment! Can you elaborate on the differences between the use of resin vs. sap in this sort of experiment?

    1. Thanks for the question Conor! Resin in trees like Norwegian spruce is usually made up of complex organic compounds that can helpful antifungal or antibacterial characteristics in case the tree or plant gets scratched or injured in someway. For sap, think maple syrup. Essentially, sap carries around the nutrients and water in trees like the Norwegian spruce we were researching.

      So for experiments like ours, it is really important to know whether or not we are using the resin, which has antifungal and antibacterial prosperities, or sap, which has sugar and other nutrients that would end up feeding the bacterial culture.

    1. Hi Avalon!

      In our lab, we are searching for novel classes of antibiotics. In medicinal chemistry classes of a drug generally refer to compounds with similar chemical structures or (broadly speaking) behaviors. The issue we find with antibiotics today, is that we have essentially stagnated on finding novel classes of antibiotics since the 1980s. As a result, populations of bacteria strains resistant to our existing catalog of antibiotics have begun to emerge in such a large number of infection cases as to be endemic feature of our healthcare system.

      So while today we can still treat bacterial infections with our existing classes of antibiotics and their constituent drugs, it is highly probable that in the future all drugs within the various classes of existing antibiotics will no longer function effectively to inhibit or kill disease causing bacteria.

      Our interest in Norwegian spruce resin is derived from our broader interest in searching for novel classes of antibiotics. It was our hope that there would be evidence of antibacterial compounds in the spruce resin that would turn out to be chemicals of interest for new classes of antibiotics.

  2. You did a great job! You spoke clearly and kept my attention. A question I have for you is what were the applications of the spruce that showed antibiotic properties in previous research?

    1. Hi Sydney!

      In the research papers we based our research on, the researchers made a medicinal salve using traditional Scandinavian preparations to topical wounds like bed sores. For those researchers, the say that the spruce resin base ointment was effective at treating those infected wounds.

      We figured it would be interesting to see if this observation translated to an antibiotic solution created from the resin as well.

  3. You did a great job! You spoke clearly and kept my attention. My question for you is, what were the applications of the spruce that showed antibiotic properties in previous research?

  4. Great job presenting! Do you have an idea to why some of the sap samples would have probiotic properties? (As suggested by some of you’re positive hits, or am I reading those data wrong)

    1. Hi Christopher!

      For me, I have a feeling that the resin/sap samples we received from our providers (small businesses on Etzy) were not resin, but rather a mixture of resin and sap, or just entirely sap. Oftentimes people confuse the two substances to be one and the same, but in terms of biology, resin is the more protective substance composed of complex organic compounds with antifungal and antibacterial properties. Sap is the substance that contains water, sugars, and other nutrients for trees (similar in a way to blood for animals).

      If we had received sap instead of resin, it would explain the probiotic properties since we would have fed the bacteria culture syrup (hyperbolically).

  5. Such an informative, well-put together presentation! I have one question about the ethanol used. You said that the high concentration of ethanol could have killed the bacteria. In the future, would you try to substitute the ethanol with a different substance or just lower the concentration? Good job!

    1. Hi Thy!

      Since resin is composed of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic compounds, we would probably stick with a lower concentration ethanol. That said it would be interesting to see if a different extraction solution could be used instead of an ethanol extraction.

      So while we would probably continue using ethanol at a lower concentration, I would also look to see if there are other extraction methods available that would help avoid the highly antimicrobial characteristic of ethanol.

    1. Hi Isabella!

      That’s a tough question. To be quite honest, we are assuming that other species of spruce have resin for protective purposes as well. Since other spruce trees will have evolved to reduce issues of fungal or bacterial infections, it would be interesting to test a wide variety of spruce species to see if there are different inhibitive properties from difference spruce trees from around the world.

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