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Title: Nuclear and atomic methods of analysis in the determination of elemental composition and distribution of biological materials
Author: Budd, Pamela M.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3508 1507
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1983
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Several 'in-vitro' and 'in-vivo' physical techniques of analysis have been used to examine the elemental composition and distribution of human bone for both contemporary and archaeological samples. Instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), a powerful tool, which had to be adapted for the particular requirements in the analysis of a bone matrix, determined a wide range of elements whereas electron microprobe analysis, using a scanning electron microscope, although not sensitive for trace element detection gave information about the distribution of major elements in bone, i.e. Ca and P, in much smaller areas with a spatial resolution of microns. The contemporary samples were human tibiae which were analysed for a range of elements whose distribution in transverse sections and along the length of the bone was investigated. A number of elements showed increased metabolism towards the knee and ankle ends of the bone. The bones were also scanned in X-ray transmission mode (CT); by using the dual energy CT method values were obtained for the Ca/P ratio along the bone. These were found to be in agreement with the results obtained using INAA indicating that the dual energy technique is able to determine differences in the Ca/P ratio. A Romano-British cemetery at Dorchester provided a population of skeletons and 'uniquely' some hair samples, for a study of trace element composition. The hair samples were found in a certain type of burial condition and the bone samples examined were taken from this same type of grave, and both were studied for the effects due to burial. These must be allowed for before any comparison can be made of trace element levels with contemporary populations. For bone Au, Sb and Zn were all increased in concentration in the poorly preserved samples and for hair Ca, P, Pb and Fe were found to be present as contamination due to burial. The bone and hair elemental concentrations were intercompared since it is thought that hair may act as a biological monitor of changes of body intakes and internal body burdens of environmental origin. However no correlation between elements for bone and hair was found for this very small population.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biochemistry