A Burrito, Fir Roots, and Phytophthora

Today I spent a long day in the lab (aside from a short diversion thanks to my Hort 138 TA responsibilities). I plated roots and leaves. Tomorrow I have another day of set up work, then the transfers will probably start on Saturday. That should put me on pace to start morphological identification of samples by the middle of next week.

The Rhododendron catawbiense leaf sections I plated today came from Petri dishes I set up 48 hours prior to the transfer. They looked like this:

Wait, it's a trap!

Pieces of rhododendron leaves are floating on the water surface, enticing the Phytophthora zoospores to hang out.

Plating fir roots is a time consuming process. It begins with washing the roots to remove any extra soil. The roots are then bathed in a 70% solution of 200 proof ethanol, rinsed, dried, and shallowly embedded in PARP plates. A major reason the process is slow is that contamination must be guarded against. Between steps the tools I’m using need to be sterilized and cooled. (It’s important not to place recently flame sterilized tools in 200 proof ethanol).

Around noon I decided to make a quick trip to Chipotle to purchase and weigh a burrito. I’ve been developing a theory that the weight of a Chipotle burrito can be predicted by the number of patrons in the store (maybe I should be more specific, the number of patrons ordering or in line to order . . . this does not include people eating in restaurant).

When I arrived and saw only three people at the counter ordering I knew things looked promising. And this happened:

610.8 grams of wonderfulness.

That’s the second largest Chipotle burrito I’ve had, and it stops a troubling trend I had been observing in declining weight. So here are my weighed burrito purchases:

Burrito #1: 669.4 grams — Patrons in store: 1
Burrito #2: 588.2 grams — Patrons in store: 6
Burrito #3: 554.6 grams — Patrons in store: 16
Burrito #4: 610.8 grams — Patrons in store: 4

Heed my advice, order your burrito when the store is slow.

I’m not sure about this, but I suspect you might have just read the first blog post in the history of the world to discuss both baiting of Phytophthora and weighing of Chipotle burritos.


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