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Name: Abby
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: Philippines
Date: Summer 2011

indica) that is best for msking antibscterial,and I don't have a device to find this components,I don't have enough knowledge on how to find components & etc in a plant.

Sounds like you want to go bioprospecting. Miners would call this a site survey. They’d be interested determining whether or not there are veins of gold, silver, or other valuable metals in the earth. You’re concerned with biological wealth – “mining” antibacterial compounds from plant extracts.

To get started, you might want to do some background research on the web using the keywords “bioprospecting”, “secondary metabolites” (plant compounds that often have human applications), and “antimicrobials”.

There are a couple of options for identifying, purifying, and quantifying individual compounds in plant extracts. One is high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The others are chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectometry (GC-MS). All are very useful analytic instruments. Deciding which one to use depends on the nature of the compound. Volatiles (compounds that readily turn into gaseous form) are best detected with GC or GC-MS.

The major issue is that this equipment is expensive and generally not available to the general public. You’d have to pay for an analysis by a private lab or a university. See what kind of services they offer. At the very least, they can provide you with a readout of the compounds they found in the sample. At this point, you’re disadvantaged because you don’t know what you’re looking for yet!

Dr. Tim Durham Instructor, Office of Curriculum and Instruction University Colloquium Department of Biological Sciences Florida Gulf Coast University

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