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News Article | August 22, 2016

The ongoing research, which detects gunshot residue and then matches glass fragment trace elements and isotopes present with those in bullet cartridges, is already providing a previously unachievable level of detail about gun crimes – with more progress expected soon. Because it is focused on .22 ammunition, the most commonly used ammunition in gun crimes in Australia, it has massive implications for Australian gun crime cases. Flinders University's Professor Paul Kirkbride, a former Assistant Director at Forensic Science SA and Chief Scientist at the Australian Federal Police who is leading the research, said it will be a game changer for law enforcement agencies who have previously been unable to link some suspects with crime scenes. Professor Kirkbride has been working with PhD students, Nick Lucas and Kelsey Seyfang, and Flinders colleagues Associate Professor Rachel Popelka-Filcoff and Emeritus Professor Hilton Kobus on two separate projects; one to establish exactly how gunshot residues deposit on criminals, and the other to identify specific glass trace elements and isotopes and match them with ammunition. The Flinders team has been using some of the most advanced technology in Australia, including Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, or ToF-SIMS, and a Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP). They have been collaborating with SA Police, Forensic Science SA, ChemCentre WA, Dr John Denman from the University of South Australia's Future Industries Institute, leading Australian technology developers Australian Scientific Instruments and Dr Charles Magee of Geoscience Australia, to take their analysis to a level of detail never seen before. "We've shown matching characteristics in the trace elements and isotopes found in glass fragments in the residue left on the shooter, in the wound and in the specific batch or brand of ammunition," said Professor Kirkbride. "This is like a fingerprint, which doesn't change before, during or after the gun is fired. "Eventually, we hope to provide law enforcement agencies with the ability to identify not only the brand of ammunition, but also the location of manufacture and points of distribution, which all contribute significantly towards identifying the purchaser." Explore further: New forensic method could help police solve crimes

Maisey S.J.,University of Western Australia | Saunders S.M.,University of Western Australia | West N.,ChemCentre | Franklin P.J.,University of Western Australia
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2013

This study of indoor air quality reports VOC concentrations in 386 suburban homes located in Perth Western Australia, a city of low ambient pollution and temperate climate. Details of indoor VOC concentrations, temperature, relative humidity, and information on house characteristics and occupant activities were collected during the sampling periods. The concentration of VOCs observed in typical homes was low and individual compounds rarely exceeded 5μgm-3. Median individual VOC concentrations ranged from 0.06μgm-3 for 1,1,1 trichloroethane and butyl ether to 26.6μgm-3 for cis/trans 2-butene. Recently renovated homes had higher concentrations of VOCs than non renovated homes, including ∑VOCs (p=0.026), ∑BTEX (p=0.03), ∑xylene (p=0.013), toluene (p=0.05), cyclohexane (p=0.039), and propyl benzene (p=0.039). Statistical analyses showed house age and attached garages were not significant factors for any of the VOCs tested. The concentrations of indoor VOCs in Perth were lower than overseas observations and those reported in recent Australian studies, with inferences made to differences in the climate and the occupant behaviour. The results are a baseline profile of indoor VOCs over the period 2006-2011, in an Australian city of low population density and of generally low ambient pollution. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Basavaraj S.,Curtin University Australia | Benson H.A.E.,Curtin University Australia | Cruickshank C.,ChemCentre | Brown D.H.,Curtin University Australia | Chen Y.,Curtin University Australia
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry | Year: 2011

A simple and reliable liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) method to monitor pegylation of resveratrol is described. The developed LC/MS method can separate and quantify unmodified MeO-PEG-OH, carboxylic acid terminated PEG, resveratrol and PEG-resveratrol prodrugs. This methodology was able to monitor and determine the extent of conversion of MeO-PEG-OH into respective acidic functional derivatives such as MeO-PEG succinylester acid (MeO-PEGO-SuccOH), which was found to be complete. The developed method was also utilised to determine the extent of conjugation of resveratrol to carboxylic acid terminated PEG. The conversion of carboxylic acid terminated PEG into a PEG-resveratrol conjugate was found to be 100% and 73%, respectively, for MeO-PEG succinylamide resveratrol (MeO-PEGN-Succ-RSV) and MeO-PEG succinylester resveratrol (MeO-PEGO-Succ-RSV). The 100% conjugation of MeO-PEGN-Succ-RSV is consistent with the result obtained from a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) study. The average molecular weights determined by LC/MS for MeO-PEG-OH, MeO-PEGO-SuccOH and MeO-PEGO-Succ-RSV were found to be 2108, 2321 and 2423 Da, respectively. These data correlate well with the theoretical values. This methodology proved to be simple and effective in determining the extent of functionalisation of PEG and its conjugation to resveratrol. Overall our LC/MS method coupled with NMR permitted complete characterisation of the polymeric prodrug pegylated-resveratrol and the reaction precursors. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Hanson C.E.,Edith Cowan University | Hanson C.E.,University of Western Australia | Hyndes G.A.,Edith Cowan University | Wang S.F.,ChemCentre
Aquatic Botany | Year: 2010

A two-dimensional biomarker approach, using stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N) and fatty acids, was used to evaluate differences both amongst and within benthic primary producer types (seagrass, fleshy red algae, calcareous red algae, brown algae, and seagrass periphyton) that are typical of the nearshore, temperate Australian region. The primary source of variance (as examined by permutational ANOVA) for all biomarkers examined was amongst primary producer types, as opposed to amongst species within type. δ13C showed a clear separation (Monte Carlo p<0.05) between seagrass (range of means=-10.1 to -14.0‰) and macroalgae (-14.6 to -25.2‰), but could not differentiate amongst the algal types examined. Similarly, distinct δ15N signatures (p<0.05) were found only for seagrass (range of means=3.6-4.1‰) versus calcareous red algae (4.6-5.5‰), with all other types overlapping in their mean δ15N values. In contrast, multivariate analysis of fatty acid data (using Canonical Analysis of Principal coordinates; CAP) distinguished not only between seagrass and macroalgae, but also between red and brown algae (and to a limited extent between the calcareous and fleshy red algal types). The principal unsaturated fatty acids in the samples were C20 polyunsaturates (found primarily in the macroalgae and periphyton), and C18 mono- and polyunsaturates, with high proportions of 18:2n-6 and 18:3n-3 typical of the seagrasses. The C18 monounsaturate 18:1n-7 was one of the most diagnostic compounds for the red algae examined, being present in very low amounts in seagrass and virtually absent in the brown algae. Conversely, brown algae were high in 18:4n-3, with 20:4n-3 particularly diagnostic of the kelp Ecklonia radiata. In contrast to stable isotopes, fatty acids helped distinguish different algal groups, thereby providing support that a two-dimensional approach using stable isotopes and fatty acids is likely to provide the most useful tool to distinguish primary producers in food web structure. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Patterson B.M.,CSIRO | Patterson B.M.,University of New South Wales | Shackleton M.,CSIRO | Furness A.J.,CSIRO | And 7 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2010

Water quality changes associated with the passage of aerobic reverse osmosis (RO) treated recycled water through a deep anaerobic pyritic aquifer system was evaluated in sediment-filled laboratory columns as part of a managed aquifer recharge (MAR) strategy. The fate of nine recycled water trace organic compounds along with potential negative water quality changes such as the release of metal(loid)s were investigated in large-scale columns over a period of 12 months. The anaerobic geochemical conditions provided a suitable environment for denitrification, and rapid (half-life <1-25 days) degradation of the endocrine disrupting compounds (bisphenol A, 17β-estradiol, 17α-ethynylestradiol), and iodipamide. However, pharmaceuticals (carbamazepine and oxazepam), disinfection by-products (N-nitrosodimethylamine, N-nitrosomorpholine) and iohexol did not degrade rapidly (half-life > 100 days). High retardation coefficients (R) determined for many of the trace organics (R 13 to 67) would increase aquifer residence time and be beneficial for many of the slow degrading compounds. However, for the trace organics with low R values (1.1-2.6) and slow degradation rates (half-life > 100 days), such as N-nitrosodimethylamine, N-nitrosomorpholine and iohexol, substantial biodegradation during aquifer passage may not occur and additional investigations are required. Only minor transient increases in some metal(loid) concentrations were observed, as a result of either pyrite oxidation, mineral dissolution or pH induced metal desorption, followed by metal re-sorption downgradient in the oxygen depleted zone. Crown Copyright © 2009.

Callan A.C.,Edith Cowan University | Hinwood A.L.,Edith Cowan University | Ramalingam M.,Edith Cowan University | Boyce M.,Edith Cowan University | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2013

A variety of metals are important for biological function but have also been shown to impact health at elevated concentrations, whereas others have no known biological function. Pregnant women are a vulnerable population and measures to reduce exposure in this group are important. We undertook a study of maternal exposure to the metals, aluminium, arsenic, copper, cobalt, chromium, lithium, manganese, nickel, selenium, tin, uranium and zinc in 173 participants across Western Australia. Each participant provided a whole blood and urine sample, as well as drinking water, residential soil and dust samples and completed a questionnaire. In general the concentrations of metals in all samples were low with the notable exception of uranium (blood U mean 0.07 μg/L, range <0.01-0.25 μg/L; urinary U mean 0.018 μg/g creatinine, range <0.01-0.199 μg/g creatinine). Factors that influenced biological concentrations were consumption of fish which increased urinary arsenic concentrations, hobbies (including mechanics and welding) which increased blood manganese concentrations and iron/folic acid supplement use which was associated with decreased concentrations of aluminium and nickel in urine and manganese in blood. Environmental concentrations of aluminium, copper and lithium were found to influence biological concentrations, but this was not the case for other environmental metals concentrations. Further work is underway to explore the influence of diet on biological metals concentrations in more detail. The high concentrations of uranium require further investigation. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Hinwood A.L.,Edith Cowan University | Callan A.C.,Edith Cowan University | Ramalingam M.,Edith Cowan University | Boyce M.,Edith Cowan University | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2013

Recent literature suggests that exposure to low concentrations of heavy metals may affect both maternal and child health. This study aimed to determine the biological heavy metals concentrations of pregnant women as well as environmental and dietary factors that may influence exposure concentrations. One hundred and seventy three pregnant women were recruited from Western Australia, each providing a sample of blood, first morning void urine, residential soil, dust and drinking water samples. Participants also completed a questionnaire which included a food frequency component. All biological and environmental samples were analysed for heavy metals using ICP-MS. Biological and environmental concentrations of lead and mercury were generally low (Median Pb Drinking Water (DW) 0.04 μg/L; Pb soil <3.0 μg/g; Pb dust 16.5 μg/g; Pb blood 3.67 μg/L; Pb urine 0.55; μg/L Hg DW <0.03; Hg soil <1.0 μg/g; Hg dust <1.0 μg/g; Hg blood 0.46 μg/L; Hg urine <0.40 μg/L). Cadmium concentrations were low in environmental samples (Median CdDW 0.02 μg/L; Cdsoil <0.30. ug/g; Cddust <0.30) but elevated in urine samples (Median 0.55 μg/L, creatinine corrected 0.70 μg/g (range <0.2-7.06 μg/g creatinine) compared with other studies of pregnant women. Predictors of increased biological metals concentrations in regression models for blood cadmium were residing in the Great Southern region of Western Australia and not using iron/folic acid supplements and for urinary cadmium was having lower household annual income. However, these factors explained little of the variation in respective biological metals concentrations. The importance of establishing factors that influence low human exposure concentrations is becoming critical in efforts to reduce exposures and hence the potential for adverse health effects. © 2013.

Patterson B.M.,CSIRO | Patterson B.M.,University of New South Wales | Shackleton M.,CSIRO | Furness A.J.,CSIRO | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Contaminant Hydrology | Year: 2011

The fate of nine trace organic compounds was evaluated during a 12 month large-scale laboratory column experiment. The columns were packed with aquifer sediment and evaluated under natural aerobic and artificial anaerobic geochemical conditions, to assess the potential for natural attenuation of these compounds during aquifer passage associated with managed aquifer recharge (MAR). The nine trace organic compounds were bisphenol A (BPA), 17β-estradiol (E2), 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2), N- nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), N-nitrosomorpholine (NMOR), carbamazepine, oxazepam, iohexol and iodipamide. In the low organic carbon content Spearwood sediment, all trace organics were non-retarded with retardation coefficients between 1.0 and 1.2, indicating that these compounds would travel at near groundwater velocities within the aquifer. The natural aerobic geochemical conditions provided a suitable environment for the rapid degradation for BPA, E2, iohexol (half life < 1 day). Lag-times for the start of degradation of these compounds ranged from < 15 to 30 days. While iodipamide was persistent under aerobic conditions, artificial reductive geochemical conditions promoted via the addition of ethanol, resulted in rapid degradation (half life < 1 days). Pharmaceuticals (carbamazepine and oxazepam) and disinfection by-products (NDMA and NMOR) did not degrade under either aerobic or anaerobic aquifer geochemical conditions (half life > 50 days). Field-based validation experiments with carbamazepine and oxazepam also showed no degradation. If persistent trace organics are present in recycled waters at concentrations in excess of their intended use, natural attenuation during aquifer passage alone may not result in extracted water meeting regulatory requirements. Additional pre treatment of the recycled water would therefore be required. Crown Copyright © 2010 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Hinwood A.,Edith Cowan University | Callan A.C.,Edith Cowan University | Heyworth J.,University of Western Australia | McCafferty P.,ChemCentre | Sly P.D.,University of Queensland
Chemosphere | Year: 2014

There has been limited study of children's personal exposure to PM10 and associated metals in rural and iron ore mining activity areas where PM10 concentrations can be very high. We undertook a small study of 70 children where 13 children were recruited in an area of iron ore mining processing and shipping, 15 children from an area in the same region with no mining activities, and 42 children in an urban area. Each child provided a 24h personal exposure PM10 sample, a first morning void urine sample, a hair sample, time activity diary, and self administered questionnaire. Children's 24h personal PM10 concentrations were low (median of 28μgm-3 in the mining area; 48μgm-3 in the rural area and 45μgm-3 in the urban area) with corresponding outdoor PM10 concentrations also low. Some very high personal PM10 concentrations were recorded for individuals (>300μgm-3) with the highest concentrations recorded in the mining and rural areas in the dry season. PM10 concentrations were highly variable. Hair aluminium, cadmium and manganese concentrations were higher in the iron ore activity area, while hair mercury, copper and nickel concentrations were higher in the urban area. Factors such as season and ventilation appear to be important but this study lacked power to confirm this. These results need to be confirmed by a larger study and the potential for absorption of the metals needs to be established along with the factors that increase exposures and the potential for health risks arising from exposure. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Stock W.D.,Edith Cowan University | Finn H.,Murdoch University | Dods K.,ChemCentre
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Pine plantations near Perth, Western Australia have provided an important food source for endangered Carnaby's Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) since the 1940s. Plans to harvest these plantations without re-planting will remove this food source by 2031 or earlier. To assess the impact of pine removal, we studied the ecological association between Carnaby's Cockatoos and pine using behavioural, nutritional, and phenological data. Pine plantations provided high densities of seed (158 025 seeds ha-1) over a large area (c. 15 000 ha). Carnaby's Cockatoos fed throughout these plantations and removed almost the entire annual crop of pine cones. Peak cockatoo abundance coincided with pine seed maturation. Pine seed had energy and protein contents equivalent to native food sources and, critically, is available in summer when breeding pairs have young offspring to feed. This strong and enduring ecological association clearly suggests that removing pine will have a significant impact on this endangered species unless restoration strategies, to establish alternative food sources, are implemented. © 2013 Stock et al.

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