I think a major thing I’ve learned in the past couple of weeks is that working in a lab can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster. There’s really slows day where nothing but reading articles happens and then there’s days where its just go-go-go and it’s non-stop work. I prefer the busy days more because then I have something to do and it’s also a lot more exciting. Monday started off pretty normal. Went to Redlands with Joey, Ricky and Reese, took some Stem Water Potentials, Paso Panel and Shadeboard measurements which I’ve talked about before.
On Tuesday I got to learn something new by helping out Cody with some Non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) quantification. Which is quite a long process but essentially after grinding up the samples (I got to use a mortar and pestle, which sort of made me feel like an ancient medicine man), and mixing them with supernatant and diluting it, incubating it, etc. In the end we use the absorbance of the leaf samples to quantify how much starch and sugars are in a sample. We’re hoping to use this information to just get another perspective into what the different treatments in our experiment are doing and what their effect on the plant is.
On Wednesday and Thursday I got to do my own little side project on the Lombard Vineyard Block here on site. Essentially we are doing a little test with the different analytical labs in the area that do Plant Nutrient Analysis Testing. Looking at the cost of the test, what kind of results they give us, how long it takes to get the results, and a few other things. On Wednesday I was mostly just squaring everything away for the project, calling the labs to double check prices and asking how much sample matter they need, etc. On Thursday I got to go out and sample the Lombard block all by myself. There are two different varieties of grapes (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) in the lombard block so I sampled both of them, I ended up collecting 216 leaf blades and petioles of each variety and then split those between the three labs we were sending them to (OSU Central Analytical Laboratory, A & L Labs, and Dellavalle Labs) so that each lab received four samples consisting of, Pinot Noir petioles, Pinot Noir leaves, Chardonnay petioles, and Chardonnay leaves. Before sending them off I had to separate the leaf blades and petioles which took a while. Then in the afternoon, with the help of Joey, I sent all the samples off to the various labs! Which actually took a lot longer than you might think, honestly the mailing process wasn’t that difficult it just took forever.
On Friday I went back out to Redlands with Joey and Ricky to take some more Stem Water Potentials and at least for a little while our last Shadeboard and Paso Panel measurements. I must say, I don’t know if it was the fact that it was Friday and the week was almost over, or because we had one less person than normal but going out to Redlands on Friday was HOT. Overall the most difficult, but also my favorite part of the week was getting to conduct my own little experiment. I probably won’t get the results for awhile so we’ll have to wait and see what comes out of it but I’ll make sure to update in future logs!