Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Is fancy trypsin the best science scam of all time?


When I was in high school I worked at a grocery store at night with a bunch of other poor redneck kids and we did typical stupid redneck kid things before and after work. My coworkers had the biggest subwoofers that would fit in their Ford Festivas or Chevy Cavaliers and we'd test to see if you could hear the bass from these in places like the walk in freezers inside the grocery store. Being a nonconformist, I spent all my money on gasoline and new rear tires for my idiotic 79 mustang that had way too large of an engine for the 4 spd transmission that was intended for the stock 2.3L shared with the Ford Pinto. Why did that have a shared bolt pattern with the pre-emissions small blocks? Who knows?

My friends spent a lot of their money on things like gold plated amp terminals. Or gold plated wire and I always assumed those were real things until James Randy went on a crusade about it and proved humans can't discern the differences (if they even exist), big shoutout to Dave for tipping me off to this years ago.

Why would I ramble about this scam at the end of my blog hiatus? Because there might be a parallel. As some in proteomics are shedding off the (largely unnecessary?) burdens of nanoLC there is a downside in that you need to load more peptides and may need tons more of that expensive trypsin. Even if you aren't scaling up sample sizes, we're being pushed to higher n and trypsin prices aren't going down.  Last year at ASMS2021 I got to see some great analytical flow data at a poster by Matt Foster and he tipped me off to the fact he's using "lower grade" trypsin and his data looks sick.

I got some cool waste material from our group and set to work with trypsin that cost me $40 a gram. And, you know what? I can't tell a difference AT ALL. 

This is probably my worst run so far. I think it is from heart (randomized tissue samples) but given the proteins that would be my guess just looking at it. 

Are we all being scammed? At ASMS2022 they were giving out some free new super duper trypsin samples. Brett, one of the few mass spectrometrists to not get COVID at ASMS because he got it right before, did this math. 

That's kind of a lot of money. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Ben, loved this post! can you give us more info? wich trypsin did you use? is the data of Matt Foster publicly available? would be a nice thing to stop buyin promega!