Lieu : Salle des Séminaires
Notes de dernières minutes : Fundamental processes of physiology are affected or regulated by mineral nutrients ; hence understanding the mechanisms of nutrient uptake and their functions in metabolism is of fundamental importance in basic and applied biological studies. The present knowledge of ion uptake mechanisms is based mostly on techniques for bulk analysis, without spatially resolved results. On the other hand, advanced studies of elemental transport at a cellular level are conducted using techniques with high spatial resolution, but low sensitivity for elemental analysis. Thus the obtained results are usually restricted to macronutrients or elements present in high quantities. There is a high demand for studies of the functions of trace elements. In addition it is known that, depending on their concentrations, elements can play different roles in organisms’ life. Studies related to elemental deficiency and toxicity as well as environmental pollution require accurate, quantitative methods with good spatial resolution. Ideally, these studies should be conducted on organs and tissues as far down as the cellular level. This applies to e.g. future directions in ionomics and metallomics and opens new, exciting possibilities of studies of trace metal effects. Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) using focused proton beam (nuclear microprobe) is one of the few microanalytical, multielemental techniques capable of quantitative studies of elemental distribution at ppm level. Close collaboration between biologists and physicists made possible creation of a biological research program in South Africa, where the nuclear microprobe at iThemba LABS played essential role. Examples of research projects done as part of this program will be presented.
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