Nutritional Ecology Laboratory

Dr. Jessica Rothman directs the Nutritional Ecology Laboratory at Hunter College, with equipment to analyze primate foods for basic nutrients (protein, sugar, fiber, fat, ash, energy) and some secondary compounds, such as tannins and alkaloids.

The following equipment is available for nutritional analysis: a Leco TruSpec Nitrogen Analyzer, two ANKOM 200 Fiber Analyzers, a ANKOM XT15 Fat Analyzer, Evolution UV-Vis Scanning Spectrometer, IKA Bomb Calorimeter, ANKOM Gas Production Measurement System, BioTek Plate Reader, LabConco Freeze Dry System, a muffle furnace, balances, rotary evaporator, and a microscope with video imaging. In addition this laboratory has all of the requisite drying ovens, a chemical fume hood, Class IIA biosafety cabinet, explosion-proof refrigeration/freezer units, filtration and vacuum equipment, incubators, water baths, a chiller, gel plates and centrifuges.

Dr. Rothman’s lab also hosts a Foss XDS Near- Infrared Reflectance Spectrometer that is funded by a NSF-Major Research Instrumentation grant. Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy is a non-destructive and economic technology that is used to rapidly assess nutritional content (see Foley et al. 1998 Oecologia; Rothman et al. 2009 Int. J. Primatol.). With this technology, we can estimate a suite of nutrients simultaneously in a plant when the sample is scanned, and we can process 150-200 samples for multiple nutrients in a single day. A dedicated full-time technician operates the instrument and assists students with sample processing.