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Zebra mussels are an invasive species seen in many countries worldwide. Zebra mussels not only cause a threat to the surrounding wildlife by out-competing other filter feeders resulting in the starvation of native species, but they also impact human activity. To prevent the dangerous effects of zebra mussels, research was done to better understand the properties and structures of their composition and metabolites. With this research being investigative the hypothesis is that by using organic chemistry methods, different components in Zebra mussels will be able to be detected. In addition, the physical structure of the Zebra mussel that is hypothesized to contain a larger variety of metabolites is the innards because they are the structure being protected by the outer shell. Methods used to further separate the compounds and collect data during this experiment include the use of bioassay and structural guided fractionation such as TLC, HPLC, IR, 13C NMR, 1H NMR, filtration, and separation. TLC was used primarily to analyze which samples contained the most components. HPLC was used to separate the components even further by placing the extracts from specific peaks into beakers. IR and NMR were analyzed to look for functional groups. Results, thus far, concluded that the Zebra mussel shells contained more metabolites than the guts and an expected metabolite is to have a structure with four protons attached to a benzene ring. This was determined through TLC separations. Further conclusions are currently under investigation. Additionally, an investigation into the components of Zebra mussels could lead to identifying secondary metabolites such as the polyketide pathway which could play a significant role in their survival.

First Advisor

Hein, Sara M


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