Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Grant Application


The pumpkin is clearly the most frightening fruit. Large and orange are distinctive features of the pumpkin. Since other large fruit such as squash, pineapple and watermelon are not nearly as scary, the terror of the pumpkin must be a result of its pigment. In the tradition of scientific biological reductionism, we attempt here, instead of merely trying to bring forth pumpkin fueled fear using crude carving, to isolate the pigment of pumpkin panic. This work is the first step towards purification of a fear inducing pigment and in the future, in conjunction with the pumpkin genome project, will aid in producing Jack O’Lanterns of unparalleled horror.


Figure 1: Acetone soluble horror inducing pigments separated by TLC. Lane one contains pigments prepared from whole pumpkin homogenate. (Whole pumpkin homogenate required the sacrifice of the pumpkin given to the Bell lab for carving). Lane two contains acetone soluble pigments from far less frightening fruit. Pigments were separated by 100% methanol. A sense of dread emanates from the indicated band that is clearly more abundant and less masked by other pigments in the acetone soluble pigments of the pumpkin.

Figure 2: Florescent compounds that may contribute to the pumpkins spookyness under blacklight are visible on the chromatogram from Fig 1.


While a uniquely terrifying pigment was not isolated with this method it is clear that a particularly abundant band of horror (Band Of hOrror) BOO is evident in the acetone soluble whole pumpkin extract. More sophisticated techniques will be required to identify BOO in order to create super terrifying Jack O’Lanterns. Also human aversion to pumpkin based products due to the fear they induce could be alleviated using BOO knockout pumpkins.


Anonymous said...

What BOOtiful results! Will the resulting paper be ghost written?

I managed to run a (black?) CAT assay that resembled a frog once (dropped the chromatography plate into the solvent while hungover). It was on my lab's wall of shame for a while. I wish I still had it.

Bayman said...

Wow someone besides Kamel remembers running CAT assays on must be old...

Anonymous said...

Is 30 old, or was my lab just old-school?

Bayman said...

30 is totally old.

Anonymous said...