Wednesday

The things you don't know about my thesis


To those of you who are wondering what I do for thesis, this post will fill up your curiosity. I took up BS Food Technology. Though we barely cook, we are taught how to process food to extend their shelf life. We learned the science behind food. It's a complicated course that composes of chemistry, biology and food science.

I, with the help of my adviser and panelists, developed a fermented sausage with the use of starter culture from Nipa (Nypa fruticans). Nipa is indigenous in the Philippines and new researches has been found out that it underutilized. Starter culture assists the fermentation process. For the starter culture, I used lactic acid bacteria, which is also found in yogurts. To start with, I make the product (the processing part) and then subject it to testing namely biological and chemical. I spend most of the time at the laboratory. It is like my second home though I don't like it to be there. The refrigerator in our laboratory is not your ordinary ref. Instead of food, it contains bacteria, agar and other microbiology related things. We grow bacteria at the laboratory and test them. It sometimes amazes me that this world has almost everything, from the tiniest living things such as microorganisms to gigantic animals. It makes me learn and appreciate life more. These microorganisms are so busy, just like people. They exist everywhere, even in your skin. The world of these tiny creatures is fascinating, especially when I look at the microscope. I just cant make myself believe that these are also living things that can't be seen. They are there but you can't see them, like the wind. Sometimes it's frustrating to manipulate them, to control them. They are so sensitive that a little difference may affect the results of my thesis.

OIO- A view from the Microscope after Gram Staining
The picture above is a confirmatory test that I did after growing a colony of bacteria. I did a gram staining to check their morphology (form and structure of organism) to make sure that they are the kind of bacteria that I want to grow and count. It took me lot of trials just to get that kind of picture. Lots of trials and failures that I almost gave up.

OIO- A view from the Microscope after Gram Staining
Making this thesis is one of the biggest challenge I have ever encountered in my life. I started from scratch. I was so lost on the first weeks of doing it. The paper part is bloody. But the experimentation and the last parts, which is writing the final paper, are bloodier. I made a time frame that I should start at this day and finish on this day, but it was never followed. There were lots of lapses and unforeseen events. I did countless plating (growing microorganisms) and lots of failed tests. I tend up repeating the whole process until I have eliminated the errors and make sure that the errors are as low as possible.

Working in a laboratory as a student is never easy. It entails patience and courage. Patience because you can barely get good results on your first trial, due to the very reason that we're just humans, flawed and imperfect. Currently, I'm doing the final paper. Mind you, this step is the hardest. Searching for legit sources and reading loads of technical paper and researches, I'll gonna do this one step at a time. Just one more step and I'm done.

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