|Mine Leachate||Environmental Sampling|
|Protein Purity||Unknown Compound Identification|
The Problem: How would a regulatory agency such as the Federal
Drug Administration determine whether vanilla extract, that sells for a substantial
price, is authentic?
Vanillin is the chief flavoring compound in natural vanilla extract. It is also the exclusive chemical compound in artificial vanilla.
Vanilla Extract is the solution obtained from the extracts of 100g of vanilla beans in 1 liter of 45% ethanol. It contains principally vanillin and also several hundred additional components in trace amounts. The price for vanilla beans has ranged from $30-$38 per pound.
Imitation Vanilla Extract is an alcohol solution containing synthetically derived vanillin from waste products of the wood pulp industry. The abundance of this resource has afforded food counterfeiters a fraudulent money-making opportunity.
The Experiment is for you to determine if the sample provide to you was extracted from vanilla beans or not. This requires two sequential laboratory exercises; first, use an ESI-Ion Trap to investigate the purity of your sample and to confirm that it does contain vanillin. The second experiment will be to use the Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer to determine the C-12 to C-13 ratio of the vanillin in your sample. Comparison of this ratio to a standard data base will allow you to answer the posed question.
Analysis of Polymer Polydispersivity - e.g., of the type that industrial
research typically conduct as they attempt to prepare new materials and which
can be used not only to introduce the difficulty of ionizing some of the bulk
polymers used in everyday living but can be used to introduce and contrast
classical methods, such as GPC, that address the same question. Download a
PDF document describing thoughts, plans, and progress on this case study.
Determination if Mine Leachates are Polluting a Local Stream - e.g., by
analyzing isotope ratios of selected metal ions, one can determine if water
flows might be moving metals out of tailing piles into fresh water sources.
Environmental Sample Analysis - e.g., identification of compounds and their
relative concentrations, in the Chemistry building, using the SIFT and its
capabilities for Real-Time Environmental Monitoring via Proton or Charge Transfer
Protein Purity - e.g., analysis of an isolated and purified protein or known
enzyme from a Biochemistry Laboratory course to compare authenticity and purity
as determined by MS versus the standard gel electrophoretic techniques.
|Unknown Compound Identification||back|
Unknown Compound Identification - e.g., use high resolution MS to examine
drugs of abuse and designer drug versions thereof.
Identification of Modified DNA - e.g., use the sequencing capability of either ESI Ion Traps or MALDI-TOF instruments to characterize an olgionucleotide and to specifically identify a unique chemical modification therein.
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