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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

Investigation of Chlorinated Fatty Acids Within Phospholipid Classes Found in Tissue of Alaskan Sea Otters

Status Current
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 09/01/2007
End Date 06/30/2008
Funding Source Undergraduate Research Grants
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 07/05/2008 01:25AM


  John Kennish

Student Researchers
  Eric Mathews


Phospholipids are the main component of cell membranes that contribute to structural integrate and fluidity.  Structural changes in phospholipids, such as chlorination, result in altered physical characteristics of these lipids and ultimately the membrane. Chlorinated lipids are the major chlorine bound organic molecule found within extracts of most marine biota.  The toxic effects that have been correlated with increased concentrations of chlorinated lipids include inhibited cell growth, occurrence of apoptosis, and other biologically adverse effects.  These toxic effects have given cause to continual investigation of the emerging biological significance of chlorinated lipids.  While there has been a growing body of knowledge pertaining to chlorinated lipid, much remains unknown.  For instance, the distribution of chlorine atoms attached to specific phospholipids found in nature has yet to be examined.  Therefore, an investigation into the distribution of the chlorinated fatty acid components of phospholipid classes would shed more light on this topic of interest.  This research is to be completed with tissue samples obtained from Alaskan Sea Otters.  The analysis required to process these samples involve an extraction of the lipids, followed by separation of lipids using liquid chromatography, derivation into fatty acids, and finally separation and detection by gas chromatography with use of  a halogen sensitive detector (XSD).  This research project has been designed to accomplish the following goals: 1) develop a method for liquid chromatographic separation of phospholipid classes 2) demonstrate the distribution of CFA within phospholipid classes 3) Obtain concentrations of CFA within phospholipids found in Alaskan Sea Otter tissue.

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