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Hey, I'm helping a HS student write a research abstract

  1. Oct 11, 2008 #1

    Simfish

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    Gold Member

    So after some corrections, this is her abstract. Can anyone suggest any further corrections? Thanks! (btw she went to a high school research program)

    I'm thinking of changing from "is created from" to something else, like "comes from". I'm also thinking of adding some conclusive statement at the end - like - further research may provide insights on the position of cis-3-Hexenal in the biochemical pathway.

    "The flavor from a tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum) is created from the complex interactions between different volatiles. However, a tomato loses most of its flavor after refrigeration. Of all the volatiles in the tomato, cis-3-Hexenal was present in the highest concentration (12,000 parts per billion) and at the highest log odor unit: 3.7. It is also one of the few volatiles whose concentration increases after tissue disruption, which is known to be the moment a tomato begins to generate its characteristic taste and smell. Based on this research, we hypothesized that loss of flavor in tomatoes caused by refrigeration may be due to the shutdown of the biochemical pathway that creates cis-3-Hexenal as an end product. In order to test this hypothesis, we extracted RNA from many samples of tomatoes stored at differing temperatures after harvest. Afterwards, we used a microarray assay to analyze the differences in RNA production and, therefore, gene activity, between the tomatoes stored at different temperatures. Our microarray and laboratory tests show that there is a correlation between higher concentration of cis-3-Hexenal in tomatoes and loss of flavor, as production of cis-3-Hexenal was noticeably higher in fruits stored at room temperature when compared to fruits stored at refrigerated temperatures."
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2008 #2
    Hey, I wish I'd thought of doing this when I was trying to write papers.

    I do have a few suggestions, some requests for clarification, and at least one actual bone to pick. Minor stuff first:

    Do not capitalize cis-3-Hexenal.

    Do use consistent formatting in your introduction of supplementary data: (12,000 parts per billion) should be followed with (3.7).

    Regading the way the experiment itself is explained: Though it's counterintuitive from the perspective of the person who actually did the research, I've found that the most succinct way to state an experiment is to discuss procedure/avenue of attack first, and only then talk about sample population, since sample population often provides a more direct bridge into talking about the results.

    When you talk about an assay for gene expression, please do state in the abstract what the gene is, or if there are too many, at least what classes of genes they are. It helps the reader to have a clue as to which genes were chosen for examination and why. Without any mention of what genes are being looked at I wouldn't know what to expect from the paper.

    This brings me to my actual bone. You state that "there is a correlation between higher levels of cis-3-hexenal production and better flavor" and that "production of cis-3-hexenal was higher in the room-temperature samples than in the refrigerated ones." But you don't mention any of the actual tests that would be needed to substantiate these statements. As far as I can tell, what you looked at was gene expression. You don't mention GC/any other analytical-chemistry techniques that looked for actual (not merely inferred) cis-3-hexenal production. You also don't mention a taste test, which would be needed to claim a correlation with better flavor.

    If all you did was look at expression, then that's all you should talk about. If you want to make more claims, you should mention the further tests you did.

    Here's my suggested revision #1. Of course, I don't know what you actually did, so you should look it over and see if I've pruned too much.

    "The flavor of a tomato fruit, Lycopersicon esculentum, is a product of complex interactions between different volatiles. However, a tomato loses most of its flavor after refrigeration. Of all the volatiles in the tomato, cis-3-hexenal is present in the highest concentration (12,000 ppb) and at the highest log odor unit (3.7). It is also one of the few volatiles whose concentration increases after tissue disruption, which is known to be the moment a tomato begins to generate its characteristic taste and smell. We hypothesized that loss of flavor in tomatoes caused by refrigeration may be due to the shutdown of the biochemical pathway that creates cis-3-hexenal as an end product. We used a microarray to monitor the mRNA expression levels of (gene/protein name), (relationship to the cis-3-hexenal biochemical pathway) in samples of tomato tissue stored at different temperatures after harvest. Our results show that (gene name) expression levels are lower in the refrigerated samples than in those kept at room temperature, suggesting that lower levels of cis-3-hexenal production may indeed be responsible for the poorer flavor of a refrigerated tomato."
     
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