A Month of Research Exploration


ESR4 secondment blog

Modou Mangan

I had my one month secondment at the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN). It was a great opportunity for me to join my co-supervisor (Professor Metges) and her research group to learn about their research work and also perform my sample analysis. I was always curious to learn about metabolite analysis using ABX Pentra 400, High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), derivatization, and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) procedures. This secondment was unique to me as I had the chance to learn and gain invaluable knowledge and experience in plasma metabolite analysis using cutting-edge instruments such as the ABX Pentra 400. During my secondment, the ABX PENTRA 400 was used to unravel the mysteries hidden within chicken plasma samples. This sophisticated instrument can provide us with valuable information on the compositions of particular plasma samples. Thanks to its precision and efficiency and technical assistance from the technicians at FBN, it was possible to perform plasma metabolite analysis, generate results, and interpret the results which gives us insights about the samples analyzed.

Besides the analysis of plasma samples using the ABX Pentra 400, I also had the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the world of chromatography (HPLC, GCMS). During this period, I got to understand and gain knowledge about the sophisticated chromatography separation technique which utilizes a mobile phase and a stationary phase in analyzing complex compound mixtures. The stationary phase, either solid or liquid, remains fixed, while the mobile phase, a liquid or gas, moves through it. The differential affinities of components in the mixture towards the mobile and stationary phases result in their distribution and separation. HPLC and GCMS are two sophisticated chromatographic techniques that I had the opportunity to explore during my secondment. HPLC utilizes a liquid mobile phase for the separation and analysis of compounds dissolved in liquids. This technique offers high sensitivity, selectivity, and automation, making it indispensable in various scientific domains. I was also opportune to gain theoretical and practical knowledge of GCMS operational procedures. The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry is tailored for compounds that are easily dissolved in gas. The gas mobile phase facilitates the separation of components, and the mass spectrometer aids in the identification and quantification of compounds. Together, these techniques provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the composition of complex samples.

My secondment experiences extended beyond plasma metabolite analysis and chromatography as I had the chance to participate in a black soldier fly larvae experiment thanks to my co-supervisor (Professor Metges), Dr Görs and Professor Manfield Mielenz. During this period, I had the opportunity to delve into the nutritional values of the black soldier fly larvae as a feed for livestock which could be important for my continuous scientific exploration.

In conclusion, the major highlights of my experience at the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN) are the interdisciplinary nature of chromatography and its pivotal role in advancing agricultural research and this will provide me with a holistic understanding of how different facets of scientific inquiry converge to address complex challenges in agriculture and animal biology.