Due to the fact that all of our living creatures died prematurely, our group has decided to nix the mysid shrimp and midge fly assay and for the past few weeks have been spending all of our time working on the making the YES assay work. We have slightly altered the methods from the original protocol from Xenometrics, using centrifuge tubes instead of 96 well plates. In the beginning, our tests were working quite nicely and slowly but surely began producing odd results. Taking a step back and thinking about it, Dr. Wilcox realized it was most likely because we had been using old stevia AND old β-estradiol, which just happens to be air sensitive. So. Much to our dismay we will be redoing our tests after Christmas break and crossing our fingers in hope that we will end up with results before our first competition!
After weeks of building cages, gathering dirt, and preparing habitats, our group is finally going to be able to start with testing by tomorrow, seeing as we will be getting our most important element of our project; Stevia. Hopefully, now that our prep work (for the most part) is done, fly cages being the main exception, we will be able to dry down our plants, and make extracts to prepare for our assays.