Updated (see note below)
By Manu and Laksiyer
This post will be written as a conversation between two people far away. Just like the originators of the Frozen project 🙂
Manu: Laks, did you know we have incredible group of contributors that started a series of “frozen” projects to explore crystal growth using Foldscope. I have been really inspired by those entries.
Laks: Yes, I have been following those entries. I think they are online – yes here they are:
Part 1: https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/2015/03/03/the-frozen-project-part-1/
Part 2: https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/2015/03/04/the-frozen-project-part-2/
Part 4: https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/2015/03/24/the-frozen-project-part-4/
Part 5: https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/2015/03/26/the-frozen-project-part-5/
Manu: I wanted to contribute to this series.
Laks: that’s a great idea. Why don’t you start with Vitamin C. It’s a very unusual vitamin – most importantly it will dissolve in tap water and thus give you a chance to make some crystals.
Manu: But I really like the beauty of crystals and curious to see how they actually grow. Is it going to be beautiful.
Laks: All crystals are beautiful. You need the right way to look at them. Also, what if you make a time lapse video of the same. I know a fellow named “Mr. William” who posted this note on time lapse microscopy using Foldscope.
Manu: yes, I have heard of Mr. William. He is a very smart fellow. He also likes oscillators..
One day passes. Everyone goes to sleep.. But in the middle of the night, Mr. Manu wakes up… Here are his thought bubbles.
Manu: I need to look at this Vitamin C thing now. I wonder what Laks was talking about..
Maybe if I search my medicine cabinet to see what I want to look at.. After all, it’s the most interesting assortment of chemicals in the house (maybe the kitchen is the second place).
Unaware that we were recording his every move – we wrote down what Mr M. did.
1. I took a vitamin C tablet and broke it into half.
2. I got a tablespoon full of water and gently scrapped the inside of the tablet. I also dropped one half of the tablet in a tablespoon full of tap water and let it form a cloudy mixture.
3. I removed the undissolved tablet and stirred the mixture very well – to make sure I don’t have any undissolved bits. It did not dissolve completely though – so I did have little seeds new crystals could grow from.
4. I put this solution on a clean glass slide and spread it well; and waited for the water to evaporate and the Vitamin C to form a crystal. I imaged using my Foldscope 140x and iPhone in time lapse mode.
Manu: Laks, look what I got.. Here is the video I got in my first try of the crystal growth;
Laks: that is fantastic. Next, You should try some higher mag videos.
Manu:yes. I was also able to take pictures of other areas with some very exciting crystal shapes.
Manu: this one looks like a fern to me.
Laks: Now since you have all these beautiful crystals – can I tell you a story.
Manu: yes, I am always ready for a story.
Laks: Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is essential to life forms and acts as a crucial catalyst in many biological reactions. Since excess Vitamin C is expelled via urine; we need to take Vitamin C dosage regularly.
Manu: I herd, in scientific jargon it’s called 2-oxo-L-threo-hexono-1,4-lactone-2,3-enediol. Imagine if I had o say that every time I wanted someone to pass me a juice 🙂
Manu: oh, also is this why we need to drink that orange juice.
Laks: yes. But what is even more fascinating is that Mice don’t need to take vitamin C. They make it by themselves.
Manu: wow.. Mice are really clever.
Laks: Vitamin C in animals is synthesized from Glucose through Glucuronate and Gulonolactone. The last step in the biosynthesis is catalyzed by an enzyme known as GULO or GLO (Gulonolactone oxidase). You can see the two-step reaction of GULO in this link.
Manu: I see.. Essentially using an oxygen molecule, two hydrogen atoms are removed from the sugar ring to give a double bond in Vitamin C.
Laks: right. One way to visualize the entire pathway is to use the KEGG database. For example, look at the pathway in rats which make their own Vitamin C.
@Manu and @Laksiyer
Ps: We are trying out a new feature; where now any author of a post can choose a comment that has new information to be part of what they wrote before. I really liked @Laksiyer comments and after his permission, we decided to write a post together. This is a co-authored post by @manup and @Laksiyer.