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New marine research ship for Australia

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My Lab

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

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Head Office Cnr. Fox Valley Road & Kiogle Street, (Locked Bag 1289) Wahroonga NSW 2076 Ph: +61 2 9487 2700 Fax: +61 2 9489 1265 Chief Editor Janette Woodhouse Email: wnilt@westwick-farrow.com.au Publisher Geoff Hird Art Director/Production Manager Julie Wright Art Production Tanya Scarselletti, Jeanette Teuma, Colleen Sam Editorial Assistant: Lauren Davis Circulation Manager Sue Lavery circulation@westwick-farrow.com.au Copy Control Mitchie Mullins NSW, QLD Liz Wilson Ph: 0403 528 558 Email: lwilson@westwick-farrow.com.au VIC, SA, WA Sandra Romanin Ph: 0414 558 464 Email: sromanin@westwick-farrow.com.au New Zealand Simon Skerman Freecall: 0800 44 25 29 Email: sskerman@westwick-farrow.com.au USA - Huson International Media East Coast Ph: 212 268 3344 West Coast Ph: 408 879 6666 Email: ralph@husonusa.com UK - Huson International Media Ph: 1932 56 4999 Email: gerryb@husonmedia.com Asia - Lachlan Rainey Ph: +61 (0) 402 157 167 Email: lrainey@westwick-farrow.com.au If you have any queries regarding our privacy policy please email privacy@westwick-farrow.com.au

editor’s note

This magazine isn’t I have edited this magazine for many years but this is the first time I have had an ‘editor’s comment’ space. So I thought I would start by explaining what this magazine isn’t. It isn’t a journal. There are thousands of scientific journals being published, ScienceDirect lists 3377 of them, but there are many more than this. Whatever your area of interest or expertise, you can be assured of finding a journal that covers the area. In fact, you’ll probably find a plethora of them from the high-impact, peer-reviewed to the one-man band with a private agenda. Each scientist can be defined by the journals they subscribe to; it is highly unlikely that the molecular spectroscopist studying the electron states of radicals in extra-terrestrial bodies subscribes to a single magazine in common with the quality assurance manager in a butter factory. And neither of them gets the same magazine as the research geneticist. Often there would only be a handful of people receiving a particular journal in Australia and New Zealand. But this magazine isn’t a journal. It is a very simple overview of what is new out there and where you can go to find out more. The main focus is on equipment and services suitable for use in laboratories or, as diagnostics move closer to the factory line or patient, by laboratory personnel. The information given is hopefully enough for you to determine if the item is of interest to you, but there is no way it tells the whole story. If you are interested, it should point you in the direction of the manufacturer or Australian/New Zealand distributor who will be able to tell you the whole story. On our website, www.labonline.com.au, there is a directory where all of the new products and services covered in the magazine plus more can be found in a searchable format. If you know what you want, you will be able to find manufacturers and distributors. However, if you don’t know something exists you can’t search for it - that’s where the magazine comes in. This also explains the “What’s new” part of the magazine title! I hope you find the magazine useful for what it is - a quick and handy resource keeping you up to date with products and services with some general interest articles as an added bonus. I am always happy to accept material for consideration for inclusion in the magazine or any feedback - so don’t be shy, send me an email at jwoodhouse@westwick-farrow.com.au.

September 2011 Total CAB Audited Circulation (Aust + NZ) 5,397 (78% personally requested)

Printed and bound by Pegasus +61 2 8822 0716 Print Post Approved PP247345/00002 ISSN No. 1448-1065 All material published in this magazine is published in good faith and every care is taken to accurately relay information provided to us. Readers are advised by the publishers to ensure that all necessary safety devices and precautions are installed and safe working procedures adopted before the use of any equipment found or purchased through the information we provide. Further, all performance criteria was provided by the representative company concerned and any dispute should be referred to them. Information indicating that products are made in Australia or New Zealand is supplied by the source company. Westwick-Farrow Pty Ltd does not quantify the amount of local content or the accuracy of the statement made by the source.

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

Survey winner Congratulations to Carla Mathews from Austin Health, who won an iPad after completing the recent What’s New in LAB Technology survey. A big thankyou to everyone who filled in the survey - the new look and title of this issue of the magazine reflect your input. Janette Woodhouse Chief Editor What’s New in LAB & Life Sciences www.labonline.com.au

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eppendorf® and OptiTrack® are registered trademarks of Eppendorf AG. All rights reserved, including graphics and images. Copyright © 2011 by Eppendorf AG.

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Finding more than Nemo

© iStockphoto.com/ Jodi Jacobson

Lauren Davis

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

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Australian marine research will be boosted in 2013 with the delivery of a new research vessel that will carry up to 40 scientists on every journey.

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or 40 years, the Southern Surveyor - the research vessel of the Marine National Facility - has conducted scientific voyages covering everything from underwater volcanoes to a carbon chemistry map of the Great Barrier Reef. But soon, it will be replaced with a new vessel, one in which the Australian Government has invested $120 million - the RV Investigator. The Investigator was purchased for the Future Research Vessel Project, launched in 2009 as part of the government’s Super Science Initiative. Like the Southern Surveyor, it will be owned and managed by the CSIRO, which also operates the Marine National Facility. It is hoped that the new vessel will meet the needs and answer the questions of an ever-expanding scientific community - especially those related to climate change - while also providing a more efficient, advanced alternative to the Southern Surveyor. At 93.6 m in length, it will be able to hold more scientists, have longer voyages and be operational for twice as long as its predecessor. It will be capable of operating continuously for 60 days at sea, cruising at 12 knots over a range of 10,000 nautical miles each voyage. But the Investigator’s own journey has only just begun. Having started construction on 31 January in Singapore, it will not be delivered to Australia until June 2013, at which point 80% of the interior will have been fitted out. The remaining equipment will be fitted here, with some of it to be transferred from the Southern Surveyor. A testing period will then run for the next few months, finishing towards the end of the year. The vessel will contain scientific equipment worth $20 million, including a core backbone of permanently fitted sampling, data acquisition, management, presentation and communication systems - all of

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which will be available to any research team using the vessel. Teams will be able to add systems to support their own investigations as well, such as radiation and trace metal laboratories; deep-water dredging, coring and drilling devices; fishing nets; towed camera systems; and remotely operated vehicles. The vessel will also, for the first time, include a two-tonne Bureau of Meteorology radar and accompanying equipment. It is this which interests Melita Keywood, an atmospheric scientist who works for the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology. Keywood has never been on a research vessel before, mainly due to the fact that an Australian vessel has never before had the facilities for atmospheric research. Having this equipment on board will allow her to conduct examinations which were previously only possible on land. “What’s new about the RV Investigator is that we now have laboratories on the ship that are just really there for us to install our equipment in,” says Keywood. “And also, the way we get the air from the atmosphere into the ship is really important, so we’ve had to design special sampling inlets for that.” Keywood’s research, which will take her from the Southern Ocean to the Timor Sea and the Great Barrier Reef, will focus on gathering data on the atmosphere of the Southern Hemisphere. She explains, “The Southern Hemisphere is much cleaner than the Northern Hemisphere. We have a lot less sources of pollution in the Southern Hemisphere. Often that means we get ignored. So if you look at climate models, or if you look at observation networks, you’ll see that there’s not a lot of data or information coming from the Southern Hemisphere. “The main thing that the RV Investigator is going to allow us to do is to make

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

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THE VESSEL WILL CONTAIN SCIENTIFIC EQUIPMENT WORTH $20 MILLION, INCLUDING A CORE BACKBONE OF PERMANENTLY FITTED SAMPLING, DATA ACQUISITION, MANAGEMENT, PRESENTATION AND COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS - ALL OF WHICH WILL BE AVAILABLE TO ANY RESEARCH TEAM USING THE VESSEL.

This gives you an idea of what the RV Investigator will finally look like.

these measurements and to fill up that database of what’s going on in the Southern Hemisphere, so that when people run their climate models for the globe, they have some data they can use.” Just like any Australian scientist who wants to use the Investigator for research, Keywood had to submit an ‘expression of interest’. The Marine National Facility examines each proposal for its scientific merits, then comes up with a series of destinations for the project’s voyage. Research teams can even piggyback’ with other groups that wish to go to the same area at the same time of the year, as the Investigator can accommodate up to 40 scientists, while the Southern Surveyor could only hold 15. “It’s going to be pretty rare that you could get 40 people on one project,” says Keywood. “There’s going to be a need to combine several different projects in one voyage.” Just as the research projects are nominated and selected, so too is the equipment that each party uses. Keywood is a member of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG), whose role is to select this equipment. The TAG does this by approaching each research community and

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asking them what equipment has to be on the ship in order to provide the data they need. The TAG then comes up with a list of priorities based on these results. It is clear that the Investigator will have a big impact on Australia’s scientific opportunities. Despite having the third largest ocean territory in the world, Australia is actually under-resourced when it comes to marine research. Keywood explains, “If you compare the territory of water that Australia covers, it’s very similar to Canada. Canada has 17 research vessels like this, and Australia has one. But if you compare somewhere like Belgium, which is very small, they have three vessels. So we’ve actually got fairly minimal resources for the amount of area of sea that surrounds Australia. “Having said that though, you’ll find that it means we’re a lot more efficient at what we do. A lot of the publications that come out of the research of the Southern Surveyor are top notch, and they’re recognised as some of the best in the world. So I think that we do very very well considering the resources that we have. “Now the Investigator, in terms of people, and time at sea, is going to triple the amount of material that we can collect

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

and the amount of data we can collect.” This, claims Keywood, will allow for a more collaborative approach - both interdisciplinary and international. “You can imagine, the Southern Ocean is very difficult for someone from North America or Europe to get to, so if they can have access to our ship that’s going to be very attractive for them to be involved in our research. And that’ll only make our research even more useful and more high quality.” So while the RV Investigator’s maiden voyage is still a long way away, Keywood is excited for the role the vessel will play in the world of marine and atmospheric research. “It’s really opened up the scope for the science that we do in our group at CSIRO,” she says. “I think it’s really an exciting development for us, and hopefully we’ll be able to utilise it in the best possible way and get the most out of it.” With thanks to Melita Keywood and Sarah Schofield (Communication Officer - CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research). For more information on the RV Investigator, vi s i t h t t p : / / w w w. m a r i n e . c s i r o . au / nationalfacility/Investigator/index.htm.

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EDXRF analysis of sulfur in oil by ASTM D4294 Applied Rigaku Technologies has announced the publication of an application note for the analysis of sulfur (S) in oil per ASTM D4294. Application Note #1135 demonstrates the efficacy of the Rigaku NEX QC benchtop energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) analyser for this measurement. Sulfur will always be an important element in crude and fuel oils, and plays a significant role in fuel quality as well as in the control of polluting emissions. Worldwide, regulations limit allowable sulfur content in diesel fuels, kerosene, heating oils and similar fuels. Jet fuels also rely on the measure-

Calling All Universities

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http://www.edmundoptics.com/grant First Grant Award US$10,000 Second Grant Award US$7,500 Third Grant Award US$5,000

ment of sulfur content to ensure optimum fuel properties and maintain emission standards. The monitoring of sulfur content, from characterising, blending and refining crude oil, to the production of various fuel oils therefore continues to be an essential analysis. The method described in the application note complies with international standards for measuring sulfur in crude and petroleum oils and demonstrates the ability of the NEX QC, a benchtop EDXRF analyser, to yield good results for the measurement of sulfur in diesel fuel in air, without the need for helium purge. Australian X-Ray Tubes Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M650

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Particle measurement system Wyatt Technology’s field flow fractionation (FFF) technology combined with multi-angle light scattering (MALS) and quasi-elastic light scattering (QELS) enables rapid measurements of particle size, size distribution and particle count, as well as structure. The

Class 3 isolators and glove boxes Laboratory Systems Group manufactures Class 3 isolators and glove boxes for a range of laboratory and pharmaceutical applications. The Class 3 isolators are designed for use within PC3 and 4 (QC34) laboratories and comply with the Australian Standard requirements AS 2243.3 Safety in Laboratories - Microbiology Containment. The units can be manufactured from either structural polypropylene or 316 stainless steel and are manufactured in Australia. Standard units have dual HEPA exhaust with optional activated carbon and HEPA inlet, decontamination ports for formaldehyde,

combined system performs difficult sizing tasks in key areas of research and development in molecular biology and nanotechnology analyses, including the separation and characterisation of liposomes and nanoparticles. Liposomes are made of lipid bilayers. The size of a liposome ranges from 20 nm up to several micrometres and may be composed of one or several concentric membranes. Liposomes possess unique properties owing to the amphiphilic character of the lipids, which makes them suitable for drug delivery. Liposomes have attracted attention as potential vehicles for drug delivery to selected cells or tissues in vivo. Therefore, it is of great importance to monitor liposome size and encapsulation during liposome

vaporised hydrogen peroxide or chlorine dioxide. Other units available include static glove boxes, aerobic chambers, anoxic chambers and complete isolation. Laboratory Systems Group Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M918

Fused silica wedge prisms TechSpec fused silica wedge prisms have good surface characteristics, making them suitable for UV to NIR beam steering applications. They provide a low coefficient of thermal expansion and high transmit-

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tance from the UV to the NIR.

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There are a range of beam

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liposomes without making assumptions.

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mass distributions as well as the structure and conformation of

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the particles. Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (Oceania) Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M347

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The 300 µL Interlocked R.A.M. (robotic arm machine) Vial with 9 mm thread finish, by JG Finneran, is a product for researchers tasked with managing a lot of chromatography sample vials in their laboratories.

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Sample management software for global sample banks Sample management software provider Titian Software has announced that its Mosaic sample management software has recently been selected by Roche to provide fast, easy access to the company’s sample banks in Europe and the US. Mosaic, which is capable of seamlessly integrating with a wide range of automated robotic hardware and infrastructure, will make it easy for Roche employees worldwide to order compounds in a range of formats from one of several sample banks using a simple online ordering system. The approach will optimise workflow efficiency while simplifying collaboration between users in different research sites across the globe. The software can be used to monitor the current status of available inventory in real time, automatically generate shipment documentation and delivery notes, and provide information on sample delivery status. Edmund Wilson, CEO of Titian, commented: “We are delighted to be working on this project with Roche. By offering a simple-touse interface and by fully integrating with the company’s existing hardware, Mosaic will make it easy for users to quickly find, order and receive the compounds they need. “With 12 years of experience working with most of the world’s leading pharma and biotech companies, we are proud to be the go-to provider for compound management solutions.” TItian Software

glass, the vial and insert are fused together, keeping

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the insert permanently in place. This design enables accurate automated injection and eliminates contamination risk around the seam or space between the neck of the vial and the insert. The vial arrives ready

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matography samples are contained in a clear Type I borosilicate glass 300 µL conical tip insert.

SelexION Technology on the company’s Triple Quad 5500 and QTRAP 5500 systems provides selectivity and performance for

The vial includes a marking spot, which can be

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a compact, easily interchangeable unit; 25 ms cycle time per MRM that matches cycle and run times with multicomponent analysis and UHPLC time scales; easy to mount/dismount, it can be set up in less than 2 min without the need to break vacuum and does not require any tools; ability to add a chemical modifier to increase peak separation power when needed; stability and reproducibility suitable for regulated bioanalysis guidelines. The tool can provide highly selective quantitative and qualitative analyses, and is compatible with UHPLC time scale and over multiple MRMs simultaneously. It is suitable for users challenged by assays with isobaric interferences and difficult to separate co-eluting contaminants and who require a fast, reproducible and easy-to-use approach to enhance the selectivity of their LC/MS/MS separations. AB SCIEX Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N455

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© iStockphoto.com/ Colin Mc Kie

Mitochondrial dysfunction precedes memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease Brian Kilen

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itochondria - subunits inside cells that produce energy - have long been thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Now, Mayo Clinic researchers using genetic mouse models have discovered that mitochondria in the brain are dysfunctional early in the disease. The findings appear in the journal PLoS ONE. The group looked at mitochondria in three mouse models, each using a different gene shown to cause familial, or early-onset, Alzheimer’s disease. The specific mitochondria changes corresponded with the mutation type and included altered mitochondrial movement, structure and energy dynamics. The changes happened in the brain even before the mice showed any symptoms such as memory loss. The group also found that the mitochondrial changes contributed to the later loss of mitochondrial function and the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. “One of the most significant findings of this study is our discovery of the impact of mitochondrial dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease,” says Eugenia Trushina, PhD, Mayo Clinic pharmacologist and senior investigator on the study. “We are asking: can we connect the degree of mitochondrial dysfunction with the progression of symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease?” Enlisting the expertise of Mayo researcher Petras Dzeja, PhD, the team applied a relatively new method called metabolomics, which measures the chemical fingerprints of metabolic pathways in the cell - sugars, lipids, nucleotides, amino acids and fatty acids, for example. It assesses what is happening in the body at a given time and at a fine level of detail, giving scientists insight into the cellular processes that underlie a disease. In this case, the metabolomic profiles showed changes in metabolites related to mitochondrial function and energy metabolism, further confirming that altered

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mitochondrial energetics is at the root of the disease process. The researchers hope that the panel of metabolomic biomarkers they discovered can eventually be used for early diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of Alzheimer’s progression. “We expect to validate metabolomic changes in humans with Alzheimer’s disease and to use these biomarkers to diagnose the disease before symptoms appear - which is the ideal time to start treatment,” Dr Trushina says. The team looked at neurons of three different genetic animal models of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers applied a mitochondria-specific dye and observed their motion along axons, a process called axonal trafficking. They showed that even in embryonic neurons afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, well before the mice show any memory loss, mitochondrial axonal trafficking is inhibited. Using a panel of techniques that included electron and light microscopy, they determined that in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease, mitochondria tended to lose their integrity, ultimately leading to the loss of function. Importantly, dysfunctional mitochondria were detected at the synapses of neurons involved in maintaining memory. “We are not looking at the consequences of Alzheimer’s disease, but at very early events and molecular mechanisms that lead to the disease,” Dr Trushina says. The next step is looking at the same mitochondrial biomarkers in humans, she says. As the researchers begin to understand more about the mitochondrial dynamics that are altered in Alzheimer’s disease, they hope to move on to designing drugs that can restore the abnormal bioenergetics and mitochondrial dynamics to treat the disease. Mayo Clinic www.mayoclinic.org

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

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Cubis速 1st in Conformity and Safety 1st modular laboratory balance 1st modular laboratory balance with Q-Level, the automatic leveling function 1st modular laboratory balance with Q-Com for limitless connectivity 1st laboratory balance with the Q-Pan off-center load compensation 1st laboratory balance with the Q-Guide operating concept 1st top-loading laboratory balance with accuracy to five decimal places 1st top-loading laboratory balance with motorized draft shield 1st top-loading laboratory balance with integrated, draft-impervious ionizer 1st laboratory balance with Advanced Pharma Compliance

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Magnificent microbes The 2012 Australian Society for Microbiology Annual Scientific Meeting will showcase the importance of microbiology to our world through presentations delivered by national and international leaders in their disciplines.

P

rofessor Ian Frazer needs no introduction. His work in immunology, culminating in the development of the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer, earned him the titles of the 2006 Queenslander of the Year and Australian of the Year. His current research interests include immunoregulation and immunotherapeutic vaccines, for which he holds research funding from several Australian and US funding bodies. It is this research which Professor Frazer will be speaking about at the 2012 ASM Annual Scientific Meeting. This large and prestigious microbiological conference, to be held over four days, will bring together researchers, clinicians, professionals and supporters from all microbiological disciplines. It will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, which is within easy walking distance of the Brisbane River and the CBD. The scheduling of the conference has been designed to provide delegates with a richer, more concentrated experience, which also provides the time and opportunity for networking. Professor Frazer will present the prestigious Rubbo Oration, to be held on the third day of the conference, while a range of plenary lectures by world leaders in medical and veterinary microbiology, applied and environmental microbiology, virology and molecular microbiology will also be delivered over the course of the event. Symposia, other oral and poster presentations, and workshops round out the program.

Plenary speakers Jill Banfield Jill Banfield is a geomicrobiologist whose work focuses on the relationship between microorganisms and their chemical environments, most notably minerals. Her work has helped us understand

18

how microorganisms alter their chemical and physical environments, such as during bioremediation. In 2010 she was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science and The Loreal UNESCO Award for exceptional women in science.

Henry Bishop Henry Bishop is a founding member of DPDx, a web-based resource for diagnostic assistance for parasitic diseases. The DPDx team conducts workshops in the morphologic identification of parasites and molecular methods for detecting parasites both at CDC and internationally.

Sébastien Gagneux Sébastien Gagneux is Unit Head and Assistant Professor at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and University of Basel, Switzerland. Dr Gagneux studies the cause and consequence of genetic diversity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis from a micro and macro evolutionary perspective.

Jean-Marc Ghigo Jean-Marc Ghigo is Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Department of Microbiology at the Institut Pasteur, Paris. In his laboratory, genetic and molecular biology approaches are used to study biofilm formation and biofilm original biological properties.

Jean-Paul Latge Jean-Paul Latge has led a group of scientists over the past decade with research and clinical interests on Aspergillus fumigatus infections in immunocompetent and immunosuppressed patients. Three major research areas have been a focus of his work: diagnosis of aspergillosis in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, identification of host and fungal factors that play a role in

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

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What: 2012 ASM Annual Scientific Meeting When: 1-4 July 2012 Where: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre Registration: http://www.asm2012.org/register.asp

© iStockphoto.com/ Sergey Panteleev

Scientific program and symposia

the establishment of the fungus in vivo, and study of cell wall biosynthesis with the aim of discovering new antifungal drugs.

Harvey Rubin Harvey Rubin is the Director of Penn’s Institute for Strategic Threat Analyis and Response (ISTAR) and Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania. The Rubin laboratory is involved in several areas, including pathogenesis of dormancy in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, enzymology and cell biology of serine proteases and serine protease inhibitors, and biomolecular computation. The lab also works on modelling complex biological behaviours using hybrid systems approaches that combine continuous and stochastic modalities.

Ralph A Tripp Ralph Tripp is a Professor and Georgia Research Alliance Chair in Vaccine and Therapeutic Studies in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia. He is also the Director of the Influenza Pathogenesis and Immunology Research Center, Associate Director of the Regional Center of Excellence for Influenza Virus Research and Surveillance, an Adjunct Professor in the Virus Research Group at the University of Canberra and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Infection & Host Defense at the University of Liverpool. He is a co-founder and the Chief Scientific Officer of Argent Diagnostics and CSO of Trellis Biosciences.

Herbert W Virgin ‘Skip’ Virgin became the Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and Chair of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in 2006. His research defines mechanisms of viral disease and immunity. His work has been cited more than 9000 times and 27 of his research articles have been cited 100 times.

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The Local Organising Committee is arranging an exciting, concise program for ASM 2012 that will cover contemporary issues and developments in microbiology. The program will consist of new focus areas including but not limited to: the changing nature of key infectious agents including Mycobacteria; the emergence and evolution of multiple-antibiotic resistance; aspects of microbial geochemistry in extreme environments; cell-signalling and responses in viral infections; molecular pathogenesis of bacterial disease; clinical microbiology and case studies in infectious diseases, environmental genomics; and marine microbiology. Symposia will include but are not limited to: • Division 1: Tropical Medical Microbiology: Sultry Bugs and Hot Microbiologists; One Health Microbiology: One World, One Medicine; Veterinary Microbiology: Microbiology Down on the Farm; Diagnostic Microbiology & Epidemiology: Back to the Future; Antimicrobial Agents & Vaccines: Bug Wars: The Sequel. • Division 2: Virus Assembly, Structure and Trafficking; Immune Response and Viral Pathogenesis; Vaccines and Antivirals; Virus Replication & Modulation of Host Defences; Emerging Viruses and Environment. • Division 3: Microbes and Water; Food Microbiology; Applied Microbiology & Ecology; Teaching Microbiology; Environmental Microbiology and Informatics. • Division 4: Host-Pathogen Interactions; Molecular Microbiology; Bacterial Genomics; Metabolism, Physiology and Genetics.

Workshops Three workshops have currently been organised for the first day of the conference, all of which are free to attend, with more to be announced. You can find out more about each workshop at http:// www.asm2012.org/highlights.asp. • The PCR workshop will comprise a series of seminars and discussion looking at problems encountered with the use of PCR in microbial diagnostics. Topics will include issues associated with sequence variation, quantitation, quality control, multiplexing and competitive inhibition. • The CDS workshop, as in previous years, will be an interactive session pitched mainly at laboratories that use the CDS method of antibiotic susceptibility testing, though those that use other methods of testing are also welcome. This year’s workshop will focus on explaining additions and modifications to the 6th Edition of the CDS Manual, along with other discussions and presentations. • The Microbial Informatics workshop will focus on technical issues surrounding the analysis of microbial next-generation sequence data. It will involve a mix of presentations and discussion, themed around the areas of data quality issues, and tools and techniques. The target audience includes people involved in hands-on analysis of next-generation sequence data.

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

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Antibody delivery reagent If target molecules in living cells

HPLC solvents

can be exposed to antibodies, it

BDH Prolabo solvents can be used for high performance liquid

would be possible to pursue new

chromatography (HPLC) and many other chromatographic ap-

dimensions of research related

plications.

to cell function analysis and ex-

The solvents combine good quality with grades such as Hiper-

ploration of target molecules for

solv Chromanorm for LC-MS and UV applications and Pestinorm

disease diagnosis and treatment.

for GC and pesticide residue analysis.

GenomONE-CAb Antibody

In addition to a comprehensive range of laboratory products

Delivery Reagent is a tool for

including analytical and reagent grade chemicals, Prolabo now

antibody introduction into cells

provides super gradient grade Acetonitrile Hipersolv, which is

in order to analyse intracel-

said to provide even higher performance with increased accuracy and consistency.

lular function. With this kit, the

VWR International Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N493

antibody can be incorporated into the HVJ Envelope (HVJ-E), a transfection tool making use of the membrane fusing ability of inactivated Sendai virus (HVJ: Hemagglutinating Virus of Japan). It is then possible

Do you just need an affordable, flexible and reliable PCR instrument?

to achieve efficient introduction of the IgG antibody into the cytoplasm. The different approach of this kit overcomes the difficulties involved in experiments using conventional lipid-based reagents by which antibodies are introduced into cells by means of endocytosis. Unlike post-transcriptional gene silencing (eg, RNAi method), this method is expected to achieve specific inhibition by recognising protein-protein interactions or post-translational modifications (addition of sugar chains, etc).

Ask us about the NEW Eppendorf Mastercycler Nexus Family!

Furthermore, non-specific reactions (off-target effects of RNAi method, etc) are unlikely to occur. Unlike gene transfer and expression methods, introduction of antibody in amounts sufficient to exert efficacy can be achieved rapidly and simply, and this method is applicable to a wider range of types of experiments. For more on this product,

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Hotplate

pH

IKATHERM hotplates allow for

mV(ORP)

precise and safe heating and tem-

ION

pering due to a platform made from glass ceramics that ensures good chemi-

Conductivity

cal resistance to acids, bases and solvents.

Resistivity

This helps in easy cleaning of the heating plate and the device casing.

Salinity

The hotplates offer a high level of safety due to a fixed safety circuit of 550°C, the Hot Top Indicator, and the digital error code display.

TDS

The elevated control panel protects the display from spilled liquids. A digital display shows the exact temperature setting, and an electronic contact thermometer may be connected for highly precise temperature control. IKA Works Guangzhou Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N417

Washdown scales Warrior washdown scales from Adam Equipment are dustproof and waterproof. They are suitable for pharmaceutical processing and good for the production line or cleanroom environments. Applications include weighing, parts counting, percentage weighing, dynamic/animal weighing, checkweighing and checkcounting. The Warrior’s solid 304-grade stainless steel construction and indicator are rated IP66, meaning the product

F-70 Series Benchtop Meters

can withstand extreme environments. Rubber feet with stainless steel threads ensure stability during weighing. The series features sev-

HORIBA popular ToupH electrode is now tougher and responds faster. Enhanced stability and minimised drift. Intergrating two new technologies for faster response and optimal performance.

en models with capacities ranging from 8 to 150 kg and readabilities from 0.5 to 10 g. It weighs in grams, kilograms, pounds, ounces, pounds/ounces and newtons. It also offers selectable

NEW TECHNOLOGY 01 pH fast response glass membrane

multilanguage (English, German, French and Spanish) text

The membrane contains HORIBA’s unique combination of rare earth metals to improve response time and increase durability.

for printing. Adam Equipment (SE ASIA) Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N197

NEW TECHNOLOGY 02 Reference electrode with increased stability (patent pending)

Assay kits Enzo Life Sciences’ (ELS) platform of MultiBead Multiplex immunoassay kits for flow cytometry provides an extensive range of human cytokines, eicosanoids, heat-shock proteins and client proteins. The platform consists of predetermined Pathplex panels (preassembled panels for human cytokines and eicosanoids) and customisable uPlex panels of up to 17 analytes (enabling users to assemble a custom multiplex from a menu of cytokine and eicosanoid assays). ELS’s Activated Bead Coupling Kits allow users to add custom analytes to their multiplex. These, along with the free data analysis software (for customisable, multiparameter curve fitting and simple data import/ export) and a vacuum manifold, ensure users have everything they need to deliver results. Sapphire Bioscience

Liquid Junction clogging by silver ions and silver complex ions is reduced to 1/1000 of conventional technology. Maintaining internal solution concentration ensures a stable standard electrical potential. ToupH electrodes are now even stronger HORIBA’s glass membrane moulding technology achieves strengths more than 10 times the Japanese Industrial Standards (stress tests) Australian Scientific Pty Ltd PO Box 335 Kotara, NSW 2289

Tel: 1800 021 083 Fax: 02 4956 2525

Email: horiba@austscientific.com.au www.austscientific.com.au

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Primary, diseased primary and stem cells

Chromatography product guide

Research shows that non-transformed, non-immortalised cells

Phenomenex has announced the

isolated directly from tissue provide conditions that closely

publication of its updated product

simulate a living model and yield more physiologically sig-

guide for 2012/2013.

nificant results.

Covering the company’s compre-

With Clonetics Primary Normal Cells and Media, Lonza

hensive lines of HPLC/UHPLC, GC

provides over 150 authenticated primary human and animal

and sample preparation products,

cell types with optimised media for growth and maintenance.

this year’s catalogue is available

With Clonetics Primary Diseased Cells, the company offers

in a full-colour print version as

primary cells derived from patients with COPD, asthma, Type

well as online in an interactive

1 and Type 2 diabetes.

digital format.

The company’s Stem Cells and Media offer primary human

The updated catalogue con-

adult stem and progenitor cells from bone marrow, cord blood

tains dedicated sections on

and adipose tissue with growth and differentiation media, and

UHPLC and bioseparations,

ES-derived differentiated cells and media.

both of which are growing ap-

Lonza primary cells and media are tested together to

plications for chromatography

guarantee performance. The company uses strict industry

and areas of focus for Phenomenex.

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The catalogue can be viewed at www.phenomenex.

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com/pr/catalog.

All tissue utilised for the company’s human cell products

Phenomenex Australia

is ethically obtained with documented and informed donor

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consent. Lonza Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N185

Rapid

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fully integrated lims solution

Australian local product, service and advice

22

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© iStockphoto.com/ totallyjamie

How to clean up your meth lab

D

eveloped more than a decade ago and used to decontaminate US federal office buildings and mailrooms during the 2001 anthrax attacks, Sandia’s decontamination foam is now being used to decontaminate illegal methamphetamine labs. Mark Tucker, a chemical engineer in Sandia’s Chemical & Biological Systems Dept. and co-creator of the original decontamination foam, said it renders all types of typical chemical and biological agents harmless. “For structures contaminated with meth, owners have two choices: demolish it or reclaim it,” said Kevin Irvine, vice president and general manager at EFT Holdings, which licenses the Sandia formulation and sells it under two names, EasyDecon DF200, certified against chemical and biological agents, and Crystal Clean, intended for meth cleanup. The meth clean-up problem is a big one. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Clandestine Meth Lab registry lists thousands of locations in the U.S. where law enforcement agencies have found chemicals or paraphernalia indicating the presence of either clandestine drug laboratories or dumpsites. In 2007, EFT released Crystal Clean, a chemically identical formula to EasyDecon DF200, but packaged and marketed specifically for meth clean-up. Sites contaminated with meth are considered crime scenes, but the contamination is chemical rather than biological. The approximately 700 remediation companies that clean up meth lab contamination also do other types of crime scene clean-up because they are accustomed to the sampling and documentation process.

Holding the bag “Property owners are often liable for expensive clean-up costs since most insurance companies won’t pay for clean-up related to methamphetamine, viewing damage resulting from meth labs

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as arising from a criminal act,” Irvine said. “That means that property owners and landlords are often left holding the bag for the cost of remediating a residence or business contaminated as a result of meth cooking.” According to the Department of Justice, the chemicals used to cook meth and the by-products from its manufacture, produce toxic fumes, vapours and residues. The report said anyone exposed to these by-products, especially children, could suffer short- and long-term health problems. Prolonged exposure to meth by-products may cause cancer; damage the brain, liver, kidney, spleen and immunologic system; and result in birth defects. Tucker said many cleaning methods don’t remove methamphetamine and the chemicals used to produce it. Incompletely or improperly cleaned surfaces, such as floors, countertops and drywall, can remain contaminated for months or even years, even after many clean-ups. Sandia’s decontamination formulation includes a collection of mild, nontoxic and noncorrosive chemicals found in common household products, such as hair conditioner and toothpaste. It contains both surfactants, which lift agents off a surface, and mild oxidizers, which break down the agent’s molecules into nontoxic pieces that can be washed down a household drain like detergent or dish soap.

Formulation left meth non-detectable In experiments from a few years ago, John Martyny, associate professor and industrial hygienist at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center’s Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and a national expert on the effects of meth exposure on children, compared the effectiveness of common cleaners, such as detergent and bleach, on methamphetamine clean-up. Martyny included Sandia’s decontamination formula in the testing. His experiments showed that, after cleaning with

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

23


PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO METH BY-PRODUCTS MAY CAUSE CANCER; DAMAGE THE BRAIN, LIVER, KIDNEY, SPLEEN AND IMMUNOLOGIC SYSTEM; AND RESULT IN BIRTH DEFECTS.

EasyDecon, the methamphetamine present on tested surfaces was likely oxidised to another compound and was non-detectable. Irvine said even if a meth site is known, it doesn’t always mean it gets cleaned up, due to the expense. Some states don’t have clean-up guidelines and don’t require homeowners to disclose whether a structure is contaminated with meth. Some families have discovered they were living in a house contaminated with meth only after family members were hospitalised for respiratory problems characteristic of chronic meth exposure. In the 22 states that have guidelines, structures contaminated with meth are seized by police and the structure is quarantined by a local or state agency (depending on the state) until the structure is proven cleared of methamphetamine to a certain level. During structure remediation with Crystal Clean, a remediation crew removes everything from the structure, including carpets and drapes, until the house is stripped bare except for the fixtures. The crew mixes the Crystal Clean solution on site and sprays the foam on walls, ceilings and floors. The foam expands to about 15 times its liquid volume through a special nozzle that draws air into the spray, allowing it to reach contamination in crevices and in the air. In an hour, it collapses back to a liquid. Using only fresh water, rags and sponges, the crew then removes the benign residue from all surfaces.

After the site is cleaned, an independent industrial hygienist tapes off a sample area in the cleaned structure and takes a number of swipe samples appropriate for the location size. The samples are treated as evidence, a formal chain of custody is established and they are taken to an independent lab. The lab runs the samples through a mass spectrometer to determine the level of contamination. In most instances, Crystal Clean reduces the levels to .02 µg/100 cm2 or less, which is considered non-detectable. Irvine said the Crystal Clean formula is more expensive than other cleaners, but it saves greatly on labour costs and lab costs because other cleaning solutions usually require more than one cleaning, with a larger crew doing the cleaning and with costly sampling taking place in between cleanings. Another advantage of this clean-up method, Irvine said, is that some other methods are destructive or use more corrosive substances and the resulting chemical residues are themselves toxic. Crystal Clean is rendered nonhazardous and nontoxic, requiring only a surface wipe when finished. Sandia’s decontamination formula was developed with funding provided by the DOE and NNSA Chemical and Biological National Security Program (CBNP). Sandia has also licensed the DF200 formula to other firms, which have developed it for use in a variety of applications, such as commercial and residential mould remediation, disinfection of hospitals and schools, pesticide removal for farm equipment and military applications, including counterterrorism preparedness. The foam also has been deployed as a preventive measure at presidential debates and a political convention. Sandia National Laboratories www.sandia.gov

Semimicro balances AUW-D dual-range semimicro balances are claimed to be the world’s first five-decimal balances with the advantage of UniBloc one-piece force cell technology. The operator can choose from two types of fully automatic span calibration methods. PSC is initiated based on temperature change detection, and Clock-CAL operates at user preset times (up to three times a day). A calibration report can be automatically printed out with the optional electronic printer. The date and time are output to meet GLP/GMP/ISO requirements. Furthermore, weighed data can be output to external devices at user-preset intervals. The balance communicates directly with any PC with Windows applications. No additional software is needed to interface with spreadsheets, databases, word processing and laboratory software. Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (Oceania) Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N063

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

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Fluxer for XRF, AA and ICP sample preparation The Claisse fusion instrument line has added TheOX - an electric multiposition fluxer which achieves sample preparation by fusion for XRF, AA and ICP analysis. This fully automatic fusion instrument produces up to six samples simultaneously and allows the preparation of 24 to 30 fusions per hour. Features include high technology refractory materials, user-friendly touch screen interface and high-performance heating elements.

Drying racks

With its fusion temperature control, the device can reach

Aktivlab fitout options now include the 72 peg

1200°C with a precision of +/-1°C. The 3.75 kW generated in

drying rack CT40.1. The one-piece moulded

the heating chamber allows fast fusion temperature ramp-ups

poly-drying rack comes with a selection of large

for shorter fusion cycles and increased sample throughput. Ad-

and small removable pins to suit a wide range

ditionally, the multilayer insulating materials minimise heat loss.

of container sizes in almost any configuration.

The product is suitable for the fusion of: mining and geo-

The units can be installed in a series, creating

logical samples (silica, silicates, clay, ores); cement, lime,

a continuous bank of drying racks on the wall.

carbonates, ceramics, glass, slag, refractories; sulphides,

Each unit is supplied with a drain fitting and

fluorides; bauxites, alumina; catalysts, polymers, pigments;

elbow which is designed to be simply connected

steel, pure metals, ferroalloys, non-ferrous alloys; and phar-

to a nearby sink.

maceutical samples. Claisse Australia Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N209

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Aktivlab Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N092

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

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CASE STUDY

Bespoke analytical technology platforms improve testing process A successful collaboration between automation systems developer Astech Projects and a research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare company has been detailed in the poster ‘Technology Implementation for Analysis of Inhaled Products’. Having been recently presented at the Drug Delivery to the Lungs (DDL) conference and exhibition, the poster details how bespoke analytical technology platforms in support of dry powder inhaler (DPI) testing have been implemented within the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) inhaled testing laboratories using a quality by design approach. The process has been summarised below.

Novel Emitted Dose (nED) The dry powder inhaler (DPI) nED is a manual apparatus that recovers the emitted dose from DPI devices. During the emitted dose test, a DPI device is primed and clamped into a firing station sealed to a DPI Dose Collector and an airflow drawn through the device via a critical flow controller. The collected dose is recovered via a washing station by pumping solvent through the dose collector into a volumetric flask for analysis. Drying and re-preparation is performed using a Dose Collector Drying Station. This technology greatly improved robustness of the testing and reliability of data as well as delivering a much more efficient and cost-effective procedure over the manual procedure.

Blister Sampling Apparatus (BSA) The BSA facilitates the recovery of powder blend from single blisters from a DPI strip for either the content uniformity or bulk assay procedures. The DPI strip is clamped onto the BSA, the blister is punched out of the strip and pierced before metered solvent is dispensed from a solvent reservo through the blister and delivered into a recovery flask for processing and analysis. This system meant that significantly more data points could be generated in a safer, costeffective and more reliable way.

Next Generation Dose Sampling Introduction (NDSI) The NDSI system automates either waste firing or collection of the powder within the Next Generation Impactor (NGI). The device holder is identical to that on the AED (see below) and nED and thus minimises any potential variability in the sealing of the device to the NGI USP Throat. This system requires minimal human intervention and complements the NSRS, improving robustness of the NGI procedure.

Next Generation Impactor Sample Recovery System (NSRS) The NSRS is designed to quantitatively recover drug particles from the NGI with solvent and deliver the sample solutions into HPLC vials for analysis. The hardware has nine individual plumbing subsystems, each an isolated channel that recovers, collects and cleans a set of NGI collection cups and related components. The throat, mouthpiece, collection cups 1 to 7 and Micro Orifice Collector (MOC) are each rinsed with a single aliquot of solvent. Recovery method parameters are specified in the user-defined methods. All operations and events of the NSRS are recorded in the software database and can be printed in preformatted reports. Particle size distributions comprising all stages of the Impactor can be consistently generated both during product development and routine quality control.

Automated Emitted Dose (AED)

The AED fully automates the DPI product content uniformity test. Once the user loads the devices, appropriate solvents and initiates the correct program, the system will waste fire and collect the defined blisters. The collectors are rinsed with solvent and HPLC autosampler vials containing sample solution are prepared. With less human intervention, the risk of analytical error is significantly reduced.

Results

In comparison to the manual procedures previously employed, the platforms increased throughput by substantially reducing the time taken to perform 100 samples and minimising analytical variability. In addition, use of the platforms decreased the volume of solvent needed for testing, reducing the waste streams and resulting in greener, more cost-effective testing.

Conclusion

Technology platforms have been implemented throughout the product development lifecycle, improving throughput, efficiency, safety and minimising analytical variability. The platforms form a strategy to support and justify product specifications and improve the science and understanding of inhaled products. They will be implemented across the GSK network as part of method/technology transfer prior to product, ensuring that the analysis of Inhaled products across the network is rugged and representative of the true quality of the product. By Geoff Daniels and Andrew Rice, GlaxoSmithKline GlaxoSmithKline Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N448

Waterproof panel PC The APC-3997AT stainless steel fanless waterproof panel PC is totally sealed to IP65 specifications on all sides. All external I/O, including the DC power input, Serial, ethernet and USB ports use waterproof sealed connectors. The product combines an Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz PC and a 19″ 300 cd/m2 TFT LCD in a thin IP65 stainless steel enclosure measuring 470(w) x 388(h) x 60(d) mm. The device supports 2 GB of 533 MHz DDR2 DRAM, an internal 2.5″ hard drive and an internal CompactFlash slot for optional storage. The 19″ LCD provides a maximum resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels and includes an analog resistive touch screen. External I/O includes two USB 2.0 ports, two COM ports and one RJ-45 LAN port. The product is designed to operate in temperatures ranging from 0 to 50°C. Its wide range DC input (11 to 32 VDC) allows it to be powered from almost any DC source. The PC is claimed to provide a long-term, reliable and quiet computing solution for industrial, food processing, medical and marine environments. Interworld Electronics & Computer Industries Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N294

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WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

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Š iStockphoto.com/4X-image

Modern bio-decontamination solutions

Bio-processing is presenting new challenges as the size and scale of operations increase. Maintaining clean facilities can be problematic as traditional methods of sterilisation become difficult to deploy in a controlled and regulatory compliant way.

T

he utilisation of mammalian or bacterial cell lines in the production of modern drug or cellular therapies represents a considerable challenge to the maintenance of clean facilities. The very conditions required for the growth, culture and maintenance of these cellular factories present an ideal environment for the accidental culture of extraneous, undesired biological contaminants such as viruses and microbes as well as material such as spores, fungi and mycoplasma. The increase in size and scale of bioprocessing also presents a challenge. Traditional methods of sterilisation such as steam and manual cleaning become increasingly difficult to deploy in large complex production areas in a controlled and regulatory compliant manner. Historically, production of classic small molecule drug products has predominantly been performed chemically, in an environment hostile to the presence and culture of most biological contaminants. Additionally, these products are commonly amenable to terminal gamma or steam sterilisation, ensuring the integrity of the product at the point of final packing or filling. Modern biopharmaceuticals present a multiple challenge when considering the need to present a safe and defined final product at the point of patient contact.

Nature of biological contamination Biological products are manufactured in complex production lines commonly involving seeding trains, bioreactors and numerous

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clearing and filtration steps in order to produce the desired final product. A number of these production steps present opportunities for contamination to be introduced or even cultured alongside the desired cell line. The contamination may be critical to process integrity or may merely reduce cell titre in seeding. However, modern in-line process monitoring and recording has raised the challenge of maintaining critical parameters across a production line to ensure batch to batch consistency in order to meet increasing levels of regulatory compliance. Although a particular contaminant may be the specific cause for concern, a bio-decontamination method should ideally display broad spectrum efficacy against any potential contaminant, thus minimising the need for additional cleaning procedures. The commonly employed Geobacillus stearothermophilus biological indicators are representative of the most difficult classification of organisms to kill; they are bacterial endospores and thus act as a strong surrogate for evidence of deactivation of other biological entities.

Process control and monitoring Deployment of a bio-decontamination technique in these heavily regulated environments increasingly requires the use of controlled and monitored processes that, by definition, can be validated to ensure efficacy. This is in strong contradiction to the formaldehyde fumigation method of room and facility decontamination. This inherently uncontrolled and unmonitored process presents challenges

WHAT’S NEW IN LAB & LIFE SCIENCES - April/May 2012

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A BIO-DECONTAMINATION METHOD SHOULD IDEALLY DISPLAY BROAD SPECTRUM EFFICACY AGAINST ANY POTENTIAL CONTAMINANT, THUS MINIMISING THE NEED FOR ADDITIONAL CLEANING PROCEDURES.

in generating data on actual contact times of the biocide with the environment as well as presenting a considerable risk to the health of staff, formaldehyde being recently classified by WHO as a human carcinogen.

largest production areas to be decontaminated as one cycle in a controlled manner, ensuring rapid 6-log sporicidal kill of any contaminated zones.

Material transfer

As transfer in and out of production areas comes under regulatory supervision and classical spray and wipe manual methods face the challenge of validation, Bioquell provides equipment for the rapid entry and exit of equipment and materials into and out of areas through whole solution material transfer products. Load presentation is critical to successful validation of these processes and represents a significant part of the validation procedure for material transfer solutions; validation of ‘worst case’ loads ensures confidence in this critical process.

Maintenance of clean room condition is inherently dependent on appropriate operator protection and a sizable effort is employed in ensuring the workforce minimises contaminants brought into monitored environments. Of equal concern is the movement of materials into and out of clean rooms, in terms of prevention of outside contaminants entering a cleanroom through, for example, maintenance equipment, monitoring equipment and support equipment. In many instances this equipment is not amenable to steam sterilisation, for example in an autoclave.

Proactive vs. emergency decontamination of a facility There are a number of both in-house and external benefits to carrying out a proactive decontamination, namely, the preparation of plans for facility decontamination are already in place so any emergency work required, following outbreak of contamination, can be deployed more rapidly. The ability to synchronise any scheduled maintenance downtime with a decontamination cycle also ensures minimisation of the risk of contamination of an area by any maintenance work while also ensuring bio-burden levels are proactively kept to an absolute minimum. From a regulatory standpoint, having a bio-decontamination plan in place prior to any outbreak reassures the regulator that the plan of action was put together in a defined and logical manner and prior validation of the efficacy of a cycle assists in demonstrating efficacy of decontamination.

Room/facility decontamination Over 20 years Bioquell has amassed expertise in the bio-decontamination of a wide range of facilities including hospitals, biomedical facilities, pharmaceutical production areas and bioprocess production facilities. This expertise coupled with the infinite scalability of Bioquell’s Room Bio-decontamination Service (RBDS) allows even the

Material transfer solutions

Validation The regulatory aspects of qualification (validation) generally relate to being able to prove, in a definitive way (typically by documented evidence) that: the equipment complies with the specifications; the critical parameters of the processes are under control; the process parameters are repeatable and there is adequate margin of safety in the process to take account of minor variations in the process performance or environmental conditions. Nothing can be assumed. Any read-across between results must be backed up by rationale, and of course all relevant data is recorded, signed and available in a suitable format. There are also requirements for training, standard operating procedures and methods of monitoring and taking corrective action as necessary.

Conclusion Hydrogen peroxide vapour represents a rapid, integratable technique for the residue-free, bio-decontamination of both routine and challenging areas within a biotech production facility whilst allowing maintenance of clean room integrity, protection of workforce and protection of product through integrated material transfer solutions. Capella Science Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N288

By Richard Lucas, PhD, Bioquell UK Ltd

MWIR and LWIR waveplates Edmund Optics zero order Mid-Wave Infrared (MWIR) and Long-Wave Infrared (LWIR) waveplates are designed for applications in the 3-9 µm wavelength range. When compared to multiple order waveplates, zero order waveplates provide increased bandwidth and lower sensitivity to temperature change. These waveplates are available with 1/4 or 1/2 retardance in a range of wavelengths, offer efficient retardation over broad spectral ranges and are suitable for a variety of infrared (IR) applications. Each MWIR and LWIR waveplate is antireflection coated and has been mounted to ease system integration. Edmund Optics Singapore Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M971

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Biological indicators

New Look

Biological indicators (BI) provide the best assurance of sterility by challenging the steriliser with quantifiable, highly resistant Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores. A system available from Arrow Scientific includes rapid readout biological indicators, disposable test packs, auto-readers and record keeping. Biological indicators are used for load

for 2012

control monitoring, which is the process by which a load is monitored and released based on the result of a biological indicator. Self-contained BI for 121°C gravity or 132°C vacuum-assisted cycles consist of a Bacillus stearothermophilus spore strip, sealed glass ampoule with growth medium and dual indicator system. After sterilisation, the vial is crushed to join the growth media with the processed spore strip. The BI is incubated for 3 h at 60°C in the Attest auto-reader for a fluorescent reading. A red light indicates an unambiguous positive result or sterilisation failure. The auto-reader, which is used with the rapid readout steam biological indicators, reduces quarantine time, allowing for quick and efficient detection of sterilisation process failure (1 to 4 h). The product is self-contained, reducing the risk of false positives due to contamination. It conforms to ISO 11138.

HI2211 bench pH meter

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The HPLC Method Development Calculator will provide assistance to chromatographers looking to optimise methods with the latest column technologies. This interactive range of online tools is hosted on the Thermo Scientific Chromatography Resource Center and helps calculate initial conditions for gradient and isocratic methods.

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In addition, an LC column selection tool is provided to assist in the choice of the appropriate column for any application. With the ability to significantly reduce the time spent in experimentally defining optimal analysis condition, the calculator provides users with quick and easy access to the technical expertise of chromatographers at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Thermo Fisher Scientific Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M359

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Protein quantitation system Merck Millipore has launched the Direct Detect system for rapid, simplified protein quantitation. The system enables infraredbased measurement of amide bonds in protein chains, an intrinsic component of every protein, without relying on amino acid composition, dye-binding properties or redox potential. Conventional assays based on UV-Vis spectroscopy rely on absorbance by a protein’s aromatic amino acids and therefore have limited utility. In addition to its analytical powers, the system provides a departure from traditional sample prep requirements typical of biomolecular quantitation. After samples are spotted on assay cards, they can be stored in ambient conditions without appreciable change in readout. Another advantage over conventional assays is that the Direct Detect calibration standard curve requires generation once, which provides additional time savings and ease of use. The system employs a hydrophilic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane designed to be transparent in most of the infrared spectral region and enables application of biomolecule solutions directly onto the membrane. The system delivers more universally applicable and faster protein quantitation, requiring minimal sample consumption. System accuracy and precision are comparable with results obtained by amino acid analysis, an accurate standard for quantitation, yet can be time consuming and often costly. Because the system relies on IR-based detection of biomolecules, users can obtain accurate and reproducible protein quantitation in presence of reducing agents and detergents. As a result, the system can measure protein concentrations from 0.2 to 5 mg/mL within seconds, without any bio- or immunochemical staining, directly from samples, including buffered solutions. The system can also be used to provide information on non-protein sample components, such as lipids and nucleic acids. Merck Pty Limited Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N204

IP68 wireless keyboard with touchpad Interworld Electronics has released the EKW-105 2.4 GHz wireless industrial keyboard with an integrated touchpad. The device is a full-size, fully sealed keyboard that meets IP68 specifications. It is resistant to dirt, dust, water, ice and corrosives. It is also easy to clean with disinfectants, making it suitable for medical as well as industrial environments. The product features 105 keys, including a 10-key numeric keypad, 12 function keys and a touchpad with left- and right-click buttons. A 2.4 GHz wireless USB dongle is provided and allows the keyboard to connect to a computer or laptop. The device only requires 7 mA to operate and 1.5 mA in standby mode for extended battery life. The keyboard can operate within a temperature range of 0 to 70°C. It is designed for material handling, food and beverage processing, medical, and other environments where rugged flexibility and portability is a necessity. Interworld Electronics & Computer Industries Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M454

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Gas analyser The LaserTrace 3, from Tiger Optics, is a laser-based trace gas analyser. Using continuous wave cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CW CRDS) technology, the product detects moisture and oxygen in inert gases at limits that are more than two times lower than previous generations of the product line. The detection limits, accuracy and response time for ultra-high-purity gas measurements are said to be superior to competing laserbased technology (tunable diode laser) and older vibrating crystal, electrolytic and chilled mirror instruments. The LaserTrace multispecies, multipoint, multigas product line accommodates up to four sensor modules in a standard 19″ rack, or permits placement of individual sensor models as far as 50 m from the computerised control unit. Measurement Solutions Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N267

Automated biobanking unit TTP Labtech’s arktic -80°C automated store has been launched to meet the growing demand for the flexible storage and management of biological samples. It is claimed to be safe and secure, providing high-capacity storage per m3. With the capacity to hold up to 95,000 0.5 mL tubes, the modular unit can still fit neatly into a small footprint, making it suitable for space-restricted laboratories with biobanking needs. It offers automated sample retrieval and secure sample tracking with a connection to database and laboratory information management systems (LIMS). The unit provides storage under nitrogen or dry air in a hermetically sealed environment, as well as the ability to cherry pick individual microtubes for delivery within 60 s, ensuring the integrity of valuable biological samples is maintained. The pre-sorting of tubes within the -80°C environment allows complete sets, as well as individual tubes, to be delivered rapidly. In addition, its modular units allow for expansion and relocation as your biobank grows. Millennium Science Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M764

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CASE STUDY

Quality tissue cutting for Human Protein Atlas Project The Human Protein Atlas Project is using the Thermo Scientific HM355S automated microtome and Section Transfer System to create high-quality tissue sections during tissue microarray (TMA) production. As part of the project, and as an external TMA production service, the Uppsala-based Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) tissue profiling group has cut more than 200,000 slides from over 1400 TMAs to date. To achieve this, SciLifeLab required a versatile microtome that would accommodate a variety of tissue types, with a choice of manual and mechanised cutting. The HM355S met these needs. When sectioning TMAs, the greatest risk of valuable tissue loss or damage can occur during transfer to a water bath. For this reason, the SciLifeLab group uses the automated Section Transfer System alongside the HM355S to eliminate such risks. This 'waterfall' system stretches sample ribbons as they are cut and simultaneously transports them safely from the blade into the integrated circulating laminar flow bath. From here, sections can be readily mounted onto glass slides. The actual composition of a tissue array can also cause complications when sectioning. An example is cancer tissues, which are generally homogenous where normal tissues have greater heterogeneity. “To overcome issues with mixed tissue composition, our experts group tissues into those with similar texture and hardness when sectioning to make set-up easier and improve workflow,” explained Dr Caroline Kampf, SciLifeLab and HPA site director. “The HM355S microtome gives us the high-quality, reproducible sections that we need for analysing the TMAs. The different cutting modes provide greater control over section generation, which is especially useful when sectioning a range of specimens of differing consistency.” A further sectioning consideration at SciLifeLab Uppsala is the fact that the TMAs are paraffin embedded. Consequently, the Thermo Scientific Cool Cut peltier-cooled attachment is used on the group’s microtomes to prolong the cutting period by maintaining a cool block temperature. By using such a cooling tool, 50 TMA sections can be cut consecutively in 50 min without the need to remove and re-cool the block on ice. This ensures effective throughput and efficient laboratory operation. “Due to the enormity of profiling the human proteome, our team holds a great deal of practical experience in TMA production for the HPA and, in fact, we now offer an external TMA production, sectioning and scanning service,” said Dr Kampf. “Consequently, our experts handle many different types and combinations of tissues for which safe, efficient and high-quality sectioning, provided by the Thermo Scientific HM355S and associated attachments, is fundamental to our high-throughput, high-quality TMA production.” For more information, visit www.thermoscientific.com/ pathology and http://tinyurl.com/SciLifeLab. Thermo Fisher Scientific Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N651

Imager The ChemiDoc-ItTS2 combines an integrated touch-screen software interface into an easy-to-use, plug-and-play unit. The straightforward and efficient format of the image acquisition functions simplifies workflow for imaging of chemiluminescent, fluorescent, colorimetric and multiplex gels and blots. Users can click the Live Preview button to immediately view an image sample, then click Capture (auto or manual). The exposure, aperture, zoom and focus can be adjusted using the touch-screen control panel. The built-in computer creates a networkable standalone system, allowing users to save images to a USB stick or to a remote computer for further analysis or documentation. All settings are clearly displayed on the screen. When a function is active, the software clearly highlights the status for ease of workflow and navigation. User preferences allow adjustment of system settings such as selection of emission filter names, binning and location for saving images. The system can be used to perform several functions. Users can optimise gel and chemiluminescent blot imaging with highly sensitive megapixel resolution, scientific-grade cooled CCD cameras. They can also view low light samples in the light-tight darkroom, which creates an optimum environment for viewing chemiluminescent blots. Users can select components as required for specific applications. The modular design allows selection of UV transilluminator, emission filters, LED white light plate (for samples, such as Coomassie Blue, that require white light transillumination) and UV modules for epi UV illumination. A BioLite MultiSpectral Light Source can be added for multiplex imaging. Accessories information can be viewed in the Options tab. Bio-Strategy Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N508

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Safety reference guide NHP has released its comprehensive Safety Reference Guide. The free guide comes complete with technical information on the company’s extensive range of safety products, whitepapers on various safety applications and information documents on international/ local safety standards. It also includes example system designs for achieving different safety categories and a glossary of typical safety terminology. The guide is therefore a good resource for projects and sites across all industries. To register for your complimentary copy, visit the NHP website NHP Electrical Engineering Products Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N038

Superior Laboratory Instruments The Right Solution Crea Laboratory Technologies provide a range of laboratory testing instrumentation to meet your analytical requirements. Our products are backed by an experienced team, fast after sales support and the right advice to take your lab further.

Low-volume sample measurement device The Starna Demountable Micro-Volume (DMV) Bio Cell uses advanced precision micromachining techniques and materials to produce a high energy throughput, ultralow-volume (<2.5 µL) direct sampling solution for life science samples. It provides accurate and reproducible measurements on existing spectrophotometers, using sample volumes down to 0.6 µL across a wide range of concentrations. By providing minimal energy reduction, the design ensures that sufficient optical energy is available to measure low-volume samples accurately across a wide absorbance range - an important benefit to scientists who require accuracy and precision. Incorporating this simple optical transmission path allows the product to be used in most UV-Visible spectrophotometers without compromise for the determination of nucleic acids or proteins. Available in 0.5, 0.2 and 0.125 mm path lengths, the accuracy of the product may be validated using a specially formulated variant of the Starna Green Certified Reference Material (CRM). In addition, for technicians working with DNA materials and who require confidence in their analysis, Starna offers the DNACON 260/280 CRM, which is formulated to match the capabilities of the DMV-Bio Cell. The product uses a magnetic closure mechanism which facilitates rapid filling/ emptying plus easy cleaning of the cell in order to prevent carryover. Starna Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N313

DNA flocked swabs Copan has recently extended their DNA Collection and Preservation range. The Genetics range of swabs is suitable for forensics, human identity and paternity. The Crime Scene range is suitable for evidence sample procurement. Both swab ranges are certified human DNA free to ensure no contamination of the swab has occurred during manufacturing. The swabs are DNase, RNase free, free of PCR and STR inhibitors and produced from the company’s Flocked Swab technology, releasing up to 100% of the sample collected.

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Interpath Services Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/N238

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Toppling Raman shift in supercritical carbon dioxide Vibrational mix shines new light on carbon sequestration measurements Just as a wine glass vibrates and sometimes breaks when a diva sings the right note, carbon dioxide vibrates when light or heat serenades it. When it does, carbon dioxide exhibits a vibrational puzzle known as Fermi resonance. Now, researchers studying geologic carbon storage have learned a bit more about the nature of carbon dioxide.

T

he results provide clues to the nature of the Fermi resonance in other molecules, and will help researchers better understand details in chemical reactions. The team of researchers from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory reported their findings in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. “We’re happy to be able to say something new about something so old,” said PNNL chemist and author Charles Windisch, Jr. “We figured out how the different carbon dioxide molecules are vibrating at some of the Fermi resonance frequencies. And, of course, we can calibrate our data with more accuracy now.” “Even to this day, people mark Raman spectra incorrectly,” said PNNL computational chemist Vassiliki-Alexandra Glezakou. “It helps to know what we are looking at, if we are going to use certain bands as guidelines to understand molecular interactions.”

called supercritical. To follow supercritical carbon dioxide in chemical reactions, researchers often use Raman spectroscopy. Raman spectroscopy is a way of capturing a molecule’s vibration. Simple molecules can vibrate in well-defined modes such as stretching and bending, which correspond to peak frequencies on a graph. These peaks are as unique and reproducible as a fingerprint. The number and position of these peaks in a spectrum can be predicted by quantum mechanics, but Fermi resonances result in unanticipated peaks due to a combination of two different vibrations, such as stretching and bending. First recognised in carbon dioxide and explained by Enrico Fermi in 1931, scientists agree that the Fermi peaks are the result of the mixing of the two vibrational modes, but they often label one of them as ‘stretch’ and the other as ‘bend’. This labelling became a problem when PNNL researchers observed a ‘flip’ in the Raman spectrum of supercritical carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide conundrum

Shift or flip?

The PNNL researchers did not set out to study again a phenomenon that dates back to the 1930s. Instead, they wanted to investigate what happens when carbon dioxide is stored underground as part of a national research effort to reduce carbon emissions from power generation. To do so, researchers plan to inject carbon dioxide in an unusual form of the gas that behaves like a liquid due to it being under high pressure,

To follow reactions, researchers often use different versions of elements called isotopes. Normally, carbon dioxide contains carbon plus the isotope oxygen-16, the most common form of oxygen. By using a heavier isotope of oxygen with its own fingerprint, oxygen-18, PNNL researchers can track the fate of carbon dioxide when it reacts with minerals, particularly when there are other sources of oxygen present such as water.

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© iStockphoto.com/ 1kayros1

THE FERMI PEAKS ARE THE RESULT OF THE MIXING OF THE TWO VIBRATIONAL MODES, BUT THEY OFTEN LABEL ONE OF THEM AS ‘STRETCH’ AND THE OTHER AS ‘BEND’. THIS LABELLING BECAME A PROBLEM WHEN PNNL RESEARCHERS OBSERVED A ‘FLIP’ IN THE RAMAN SPECTRUM OF SUPERCRITICAL CARBON DIOXIDE.

In the Raman spectra of the lighter supercritical carbon dioxide, the pair of Fermi peaks included a weaker one at a lower frequency and a stronger one at higher frequency. When they replaced all of the oxygens with the heavier isotope, however, the peaks seemed to flip, with the stronger one appearing at a lower frequency instead. At first, it was not clear how the two sets of Fermi peaks related to each other - whether the peaks were really a mirror image or if the stronger oxygen-16 peak somehow morphed into a weaker peak when heavy oxygen-18 was introduced. Typically, a heavier isotope will shift peaks to lower frequencies, although different modes are not necessarily affected by the same amount. The researchers needed to unambiguously identify the peaks and to figure out how much bending and stretching modes contributed to each one. To do so, the team decided to simulate the carbon dioxide molecules with different oxygen isotopes on a computer and see if they could recreate the Raman spectra they saw in their experiments.

To the computer Using computing resources at EMSL, DOE’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL, Glezakou simulated carbon dioxide in supercritical conditions similar to those in the experiment. The molecules were ‘made’ with either oxygen-16 or oxygen-18. They analysed the motion of the molecules to produce computational spectra that echoed the real spectra.

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In this way, the team was able to determine the percent of bending and stretching modes expected in each peak. The results showed that with oxygen-16, the stronger peak at the higher frequency is due mostly to the stretching mode, while the weaker peak at the lower frequency is due mostly to the bending mode. Oxygen-18, however, told a different story. The results with heavy carbon dioxide showed unequivocally that the light- and heavy-oxygen peaks were not exactly mirror images of each other. Carbon dioxide is mostly a linear molecule, so the bending motion is much less affected than the stretch when the oxygen-16 is replaced by its heavier isotope. As a result, the composition of the peaks does not remain the same. “The heavier oxygen doesn’t just shift the peaks. It changes their identity,” said Glezakou. “And the bigger effects are on the stretching, because the peak with the most stretching has the biggest frequency shift.” Windisch added that the experimental results matched the computational ones nicely, in spite of the difficulty. “Our colleague Paul Martin here at PNNL had to build equipment so we could do these experiments at the pressures we needed. Not easy,” he said. Having nailed down the vibrational pedigree of these carbon dioxide molecules, they plan to use these results to understand better other reactions between carbon dioxide and a variety of minerals.

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my lab

UTS facility spearheads research in nanoscale materials physics A world-first facility giving scientists unprecedented control over the creation and testing of materials at the microscopic level has been commissioned at UTS. The UTS Faculty of Science has signed a $2 million collaborative research contract with American-based nanotech equipment manufacturer FEI Company that will support a new energy-efficient materials research strength at UTS. FEI is a world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of focused electron and ion beam systems for nanoscale research. As part of the partnership, FEI has donated a novel, research-grade material fabrication and characterisation facility to UTS and is sponsoring Professor Milos Toth as a professorial chair in materials physics to spearhead the research and Gold flakes on tantalum surface development collaboration over a five-year period. [Image courtesy FEI Image Gallery] The cutting-edge laboratory is the first of its kind applied to research in the field of nanoscale materials physics using electron beams in reactive gaseous environments. Professor Toth, a former FEI research scientist, said the capabilities of the facility were “revolutionary” and UTS researchers would be the first to benefit. “This technology allows complex and dynamic material modification processes to be analysed in real time, creating a completely new approach to materials physics,” Professor Toth said. A highly advanced scanning electron microscope (SEM) enables processes such as the self-assembly of nanostructured materials to be performed in situ and to be studied using ultrahigh-resolution electron imaging and a unique combination of correlative chemical, elemental and optoelectronic analysis techniques. “This joint research venture is a great opportunity for FEI and UTS to further develop the technology and apply it to help make energyefficient materials a reality,” said Dr Michael Lysaght, FEI Company’s Director of Research and Technology. The facility has been installed in a special laboratory built and housed as part of the UTS Microstructural Analysis Unit (MAU). MAU Director Professor Matthew Phillips said, “The research findings will not only enable real-time dynamic studies of functional materials for sustainable energy applications but will also attract industry, prestigious research grants and facilitate a strong, long-term relationship between PhD student Aiden Martin and Professional Officer Geoff UTS and FEI to further develop research in energy McCredie at work in the PhD student Aiden Martin and Professional Officer Geoff McCredie at work in the new facility. efficiency and its applications.

Professor Milos Toth, Dr Michael Lysaght from FEI Company and Professor Matthew Phillips. The nanotechnology research programs and activities at the University of Technology, Sydney - Microstructural Analysis Unit include: fluorescent nanoparticles, in-situ nanoscale analysis and fabrication, self-assembled monolayers, energy efficiency and nanobiotechnology.

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The breakthrough optical technology inside TUNE combines wavelength selection with up to 10x greater sensitivity than monochromator-based systems. The SpectraMax速 Paradigm速 System with TUNE lets you screen faster with on-the-fly detection, get increased Z-factors, and preserve valuable fluorophore. Find your TUNEivity at www.paradigm-TUNE.com/HTS

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