Superfund Research Program
Trace Elements Analysis Core
The Trace Element Analysis (TEA) Core continues to provide state of the art analytical resources and expertise to Dartmouth Superfund researchers as its primary goal. The TEA Core has analyzed multiple samples for several research projects during the past year. The Core has worked closely with Dr. Karagas’s and Drs. Guerinot & Punshon’s projects on the issues of arsenic in rice and subsequent exposure to pregnant women and, because rice is often an ingredient in infant foods, exposure to infants. The Core developed methods to speciate arsenic in foods and the Core Leader, Dr. Brian Jackson, gave an oral presentation at the 4th International conference on Trace Elements in Food in Aberdeen, Scotland in June 2011. The work has resulted in three manuscripts, two of which are in press and one in review.
The TEA Core concluded its ARRA-funded project with Dr. Karagas’s project and Brown University. They have analyzed over 1000 toenails for As and Hg determination.
The Core worked with Drs. Guerinot & Punshon’s project to determine arsenic speciation in lung cell lysates exposed to inorganic arsenic. An important question for this project was to identify whether these cells methylate arsenic and to quantify the extent of any methylation. The TEA Core has also worked with Drs. Chen, Punshon & Mason’s project to develop methods using enriched stable isotopes of mercury to identify the feeding behavior of amphipods in sediment systems. It is unknown whether these animals preferentially graze algae from the water column or the sediments, yet this is key to knowing whether they receive their mercury exposure in the water (pelagic) or sediments (benthic). The Core spiked algae in the water column with one specific inorganic mercury isotope and algae in the sediment with another then monitored the mercury isotopic composition in the amphipods after they were placed in the spiked mesocosm for up to 48 hours. The researchers repeated the experimental design with spiked methylmercury isotopes. Vivien Taylor, a Superfund postdoctoral trainee in the TEA Core, performed the experiments in conjunction with Drs. Chen, Punshon, & Mason’s project, and is taking the lead on the data analysis and writing the paper.
The Core concluded its analytical contract with the National Cancer Institute to analyze trace metals in toenails. The TEA Core has analyzed over 5000 nail samples in the past 18 months and the Core PI, Dr. Jackson, is a co-author on a manuscript which is in press in the journal Gut. Dr. Jackson is also a research associate professor in Earth Sciences, and has two graduate students, Jie Yang and Sam Beal, on the Dartmouth Superfund Training Core. Both Jie and Sam attended the annual meeting and presented posters.
The TEA Core is continuing to renovate the Core laboratory space with the end goal of a cleaner environment. They are currently petitioning the Town to allow the installation of a bulk argon gas cylinder outside the building instead of their current practice of biweekly deliveries of liquid argon dewars which must be placed inside the Core laboratory space. If this petition is granted it will save lab space, be safer, be cost saving and reduce downtime as an exterior bulk tank is more easily monitored and will never be allowed to become empty. The Core is also hard-plumbing all other gases (argon, helium, nitrogen) from a carrel outside of the lab space so the researchers can get rid of the high number of gas cylinders in their lab which currently serve multiple instrument tasks.