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Homework Help: BIO Experiment involvin paramecia, c14, alcohol - Need some info

  1. Jan 15, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Okay this isn't really a question from the textbook or anything but I'm having a horribly hard time trying to find information on an experiment involving c14, paramecia and alcohol. There are questions I have to answer about this and I've tried googling for information for the last hour to no luck. I just hope someone knows where I can get some information on this experiment, I can answer the questions myself if I can find some information.

    Here are the 'steps' to the experiment:

    1. Chemical synthesis of C6H12O6 with C14 in position #6. "Labelled" Glucose

    2. Paramecia are starved for 5 hours (i.e. n medium with no organic molecules).

    3. The starved cells are suspended in a medium containing the labelled glucose. Several test tubes are used with medium and paramecia.

    4. To stop all the reactions, 95% alcohol is added to the tube and stirred rapidly. (Alcohol denatures protein and all enzyme catalysed reactions cease.) Each tube is "stopped" at a different time.

    5. By enzymatic digestion (lysing), the cells are digested.

    6. From each test tube molecules are separated by paper chromatography and the c14 molecules are positioned.

    7. Each c14 molecule is removed from the paper and identified by chemical analysis.


    The questions are like , why are the paramecia starved, why is labelled glucose used, what is the first substance that paramecia make with glucose.. etc. and other questions of this nature. Any information or links to pages with info would be helpful.

    2. Relevant equations
    No equations, bio =\

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I've tried googling for an hour for information to no luck.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2007 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Gold Member

    This looks like more of a "thinking" exercise, not one where you're supposed to Google for the experiment. However, it's difficult to help point your thinking in the right direction when you haven't provided the complete set of questions you need to answer (and since the first question there was the first one I was going to ask you to help you understand the lab assignment, I think we really do need that full set of questions so we don't just ask the same ones).

    To get you started with the questions you have written here...
    1) Why is labeled glucose used? Think about what you are measuring in the experiment. Could you do that if you had glucose without any label on it?

    2) Why are the paramecia starved? Again, it might help to think about how the experiment would work if you skipped that step. If you are starved, what happens when presented with a food source?
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