September 11, 2022

Agarose Substitution for Electrophoresis - Week 4

Now with the controls recorded, I was able to move into creating the tapioca starch gel. Unsurprisingly, the process to modify the tapioca starch went differently than it did for the corn starch. What does this mean for the project as a whole? Let's find out!

Tapioca Starch Modification

To modify the tapioca starch, I went for a similar approach. The reason why the boric acid-sodium hydroxide buffer approach was used is to reduce the gelatinizing temperature. While the protocol was originally intended for the modification of potato starch, it achieved a similar goal with corn starch. However, it didn't go as intended.

Due to the different properties of tapioca starch, various stages of drying and washing had the tapioca starch gelatinize. While this is a good indicator of the tapioca's gelling properties, gelatinization at this stage means unrecoverable starch. Because of this, a 37% yield was achieved with the tapioca starch modification. Furthermore, the grinding process was excruciating with a mortar and pestle. For this reason, I hold some concern about the ability of the powder to completely dissolve.

Closing Remarks

For this week, I only focused on creating the modified tapioca starch. Given the lab equipment a school usually has, I am extremely limited on what I can do to the starch. However, I still believe that I can successfully create a gel that utilizes tapioca starch. The week was slow, but it's alright! The next week should hopefully be more exciting.