Turning an Extended Essay into an Academic Paper
Who is Much?
Much Tantipipatpong previously attended NIST International School Bangkok. He did the IB diploma where he wrote a Chemistry Extended Essay about the extraction of Bromelain from pineapple. Much has always been interested in finding sustainable ways of living for this reason he was the creator of Everleaves which was a project where he used pineapple waste and converted it into paper by creating fibre sheets.
Anika: Hi, Much. How are you doing? I have heard that you managed to turn your chemistry Extended Essay into a science paper that is later getting published. Could you please tell me a bit more about that?
Much: Hi Anika, I’m doing well, thank you for asking. My science paper will soon be published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators, a Harvard University research journal that is dedicated to printing high school-level research.
Anika: How much effort did it take to turn your research into a science paper?
Much: To be completely honest, it did take quite a bit of effort. Firstly, one of the requirements of the Journal of Emerging Investigators was that the paper had to be original. To elaborate, the paper had to incorporate [original] data or findings.
But, before I get into that, let me explain to you what I did. My project was based on the extraction of bromelain from pineapples.
Anika: What exactly is Bromelain?
Much: Bromelain is a digestive enzyme that can be obtained from different parts of a pineapple. For instance, it can be obtained from the fruit itself or other pineapple-related waste (like pineapple leaves and stems). So, what I did in my research was to calculate the yield obtained from extracting these sort of enzymes from the pineapple waste. In my case, I was easily able to collect pineapple waste because my family personally runs a pineapple canning business that generates a lot of it.
I decided to do the extraction experiment outdoors, heating the waste to relatively high temperatures, ranging from 20°C to 45°C. I did that because bromelain, like any other enzyme, decays and denatures at high temperatures. I conducted this experiment to find out if I could procure a decent yield within this range of temperatures.
That’s the premise of my extended essay. Now, what I did differently for the paper was that I simply manipulated a series of variables. The first of these variables was the pH at which my extraction was performed, and the other one was the time taken for the extraction to occur.
Anika: What did you notice? How did the pH affect the extraction time?
Much: At first, I performed one set of experiments to see whether the pH would affect the yield generated. Then I did another set to observe how the extraction time would alter the yield. One thing that you must know about enzymes is that even if they are not at super high temperatures, with time, they will still begin to decay or denature (but at a significantly slower rate). This kind of balances out the rate at which you extract the enzyme against the rate at which it decays.
So, varying the extraction time does not serve the purpose because you can extract more in two hours than in an hour; however, during the second hour, the enzyme would continue to decay.
Anika: Right, okay. That makes sense. How long did it take for you to come to this conclusion?
Much: I did a total of 125 trials. So, you could say that it did take a lot of time to perform the experiments set by set.
Anika: That sounds like a lot of hard work.
Much: Yeah, it was, but it also led to a great realisation. Anyway, so that’s the model of the data in my Extended Essay. As for the research paper, like I said, one of the conditions was that you had to present new findings. My most significant new finding was that there is a specific pH for extracting bromelain: between 5 and 6. That finding concurred with the data I produced for my Extended Essay.
But what I realised from my old experiment is that high temperatures are still a viable option. If you look at the bromelain experiment, the average temperature would be 0°C to 4°C. This is the case for any enzyme. You will see that at higher temperatures, the yield generated is comparatively low, but still quite a high amount. My research focused on this aspect of bromelain production.
Anika: I also heard that you managed to create paper from pineapple scraps. Would you like to tell me more about that?
Much: Certainly. What you’re talking about is another project that I did which is similar to the one we were just discussing. I intend to use this research for my university application.
Anika: Oh, okay. Could you tell me a little bit about that?
Much: Well, it also involves the use of pineapple biowaste. However, unlike the other experiment, this study is based on only the pineapple leaves, not any other waste product. I realised that through a series of steps, you can transform the leaves into a fibrous material which could be a reasonable substitute for other environmentally-damaging products.
I did not publish these findings in any research journal, nor did I include them in my Extended Essay. This research is something else I wanted to work on—and it required similar inputs to those required in my research paper.
Anika: This is great! It's fantastic to see how you have created an opportunity for yourself using something as atypical as pineapple waste. Thank you so much for your time.
Written by: Anika Kothari
Year 13 student at Bangkok Patana School