NRF iThemba LABS

Somerset East, South Africa

NRF iThemba LABS

Somerset East, South Africa
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Hazem R.,University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene | Izerrouken M.,Center de Recherche Nucléaire de Draria | Sari A.,Nuclear Research Center of Birine | Kermadi S.,University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene | And 5 more authors.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms | Year: 2013

TiO2 films prepared by sol-gel were irradiated with 25.8 MeV Cu and 90 MeV Xe ions at room temperature under normal incidence. The irradiation with Cu and Xe ions were performed respectively at iThemba labs, South Africa and GANIL, Caen, France. The properties of radiation defects induced in TiO 2 nanostructures were investigated using grazing angle X-ray diffraction (GAXRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and UV-visible spectrophotometry. From GAXRD analysis, it is found that anatase (1 0 1) peak intensity decrease with increasing the fluence and disappear completely above a threshold ion fluence of 5 × 1012 ion/cm2. This indicates that the crystallinity of the TiO2 film is destroyed upon irradiation due to the amorphous track formation. The track radius estimated from the Poisson's law is about 2 and 4 nm after irradiation with 25.8 MeV Cu and 90 MeV Xe ions, respectively. According to the AFM analysis, the elaborated TiO2 films are composed of particles with a triangular shape of a size in the range of 200-500 nm. It is found that the particle size increases after irradiation with both Cu and Xe ions. In addition, the root-mean-square (RMS) surface roughness for 780 nm × 780 nm area scans decreases exponentially with increasing fluence up to 1013 ions/cm2 in the case of Xe irradiation, but increases drastically above 2.68 × 1011 ions/cm2 in the case of Cu ion irradiation and reaches a mean value of ∼3 nm. The absorption measurements reveal that the optical band gap is not affected by both Xe and Cu ions irradiation. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Oestreicher U.,Federal office for Radiation Protection | Samaga D.,Federal office for Radiation Protection | Ainsbury E.,Public Health England | Antunes A.C.,University of Lisbon | And 53 more authors.
International Journal of Radiation Biology | Year: 2016

Purpose: Two quality controlled inter-laboratory exercises were organized within the EU project ‘Realizing the European Network of Biodosimetry (RENEB)’ to further optimize the dicentric chromosome assay (DCA) and to identify needs for training and harmonization activities within the RENEB network. Materials and methods: The general study design included blood shipment, sample processing, analysis of chromosome aberrations and radiation dose assessment. After manual scoring of dicentric chromosomes in different cell numbers dose estimations and corresponding 95% confidence intervals were submitted by the participants. Results: The shipment of blood samples to the partners in the European Community (EU) were performed successfully. Outside the EU unacceptable delays occurred. The results of the dose estimation demonstrate a very successful classification of the blood samples in medically relevant groups. In comparison to the 1st exercise the 2nd intercomparison showed an improvement in the accuracy of dose estimations especially for the high dose point. Conclusions: In case of a large-scale radiological incident, the pooling of ressources by networks can enhance the rapid classification of individuals in medically relevant treatment groups based on the DCA. The performance of the RENEB network as a whole has clearly benefited from harmonization processes and specific training activities for the network partners. © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Ndimba R.,NRF iThemba LABS | Ndimba R.,Stellenbosch University | Grootboom A.W.,South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research | Mehlo L.,South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research | And 5 more authors.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms | Year: 2015

We have previously demonstrated that poor digestibility in sorghum can be addressed by using RNA interference (RNAi) to suppress kafirin synthesis. The approach resulted in a twofold improvement in overall protein digestibility levels. In the present study, the effect of this targeted kafirin suppression on other grain quality parameters was investigated. Several significant changes in the proximate composition, amino acid profile and the bulk mineral content were detected. Importantly, the most limiting amino acid, lysine, was significantly increased in the transgenic grains by up to 39%; whilst mineral elements in the bulk, such as sulphur (S) and zinc (Zn) were reduced by up to 15.8% and 21% respectively. Elemental mapping of the grain tissue, using micro-PIXE, demonstrated a significant decrease in Zn (>75%), which was localised to the outer endosperm region, whilst TEM revealed important changes to the protein body morphology of the transgenic grains. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Claes K.,Ghent University | Depuydt J.,Ghent University | Taylor A.M.R.,University of Birmingham | Last J.I.,University of Birmingham | And 6 more authors.
NeuroMolecular Medicine | Year: 2013

Variant ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) may be an underdiagnosed entity. We correlate data from radiosensitivity and kinase assays with clinical and molecular data from a patient with variant A-T and relatives. The coding region of ATM was sequenced. To evaluate the functional effect of the mutations, we performed kinase assays and developed a novel S-G2 micronucleus test. Our patient presented with mild dystonia, moderately dysarthric speech, increased serum α-fetoprotein but no ataxia nor telangiectasias, no nystagmus or oculomotor dyspraxia. She has a severe IgA deficiency, but does not have recurrent infections. She is compound heterozygote for ATM c.8122G>A (p.Asp2708Asn) and c.8851-1G>T, leading to in frame loss of 63 nucleotides at the cDNA level. A trace amount of ATM protein is translated from both alleles. Residual kinase activity is derived only from the p.Asp2708Asn allele. The conventional G0 micronucleus test, based on irradiation of resting lymphocytes, revealed a radiosensitive phenotype for the patient, but not for the heterozygous relatives. As ATM is involved in homologous recombination and G2/M cell cycle checkpoint, we optimized an S-G2 micronucleus assay, allowing to evaluate micronuclei in lymphocytes irradiated in the S and G2 phases. This test showed increased radiosensitivity for both the patient and the heterozygous carriers. Intriguingly, heterozygous carriers of c.8851-1G>T (mutation associated with absence of kinase activity) showed a stronger radiosensitive phenotype with this assay than heterozygous carriers of p.Asp2708Asn (mutation associated with residual kinase activity). The modified S-G2 micronucleus assay provided phenotypic insight into complement the diagnosis of this atypical A-T patient. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Herd O.,NRF iThemba LABS | Herd O.,University of Witwatersrand | Francies F.,NRF iThemba LABS | Francies F.,University of Witwatersrand | And 8 more authors.
Molecular Medicine Reports | Year: 2016

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer amongst South African women and is the leading cause of cancer-associated mortality in this region. Several international studies on radiation-induced DNA damage in lymphocytes of cervical cancer patients have remained inconclusive. Despite the high incidence of cervical cancer in South Africa, and the extensive use of radiotherapy to treat it, the chromosomal radiosensitivity of South African cervical cancer patients has not been studied to date. Since a high number of these patients are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive, the effect of HIV infection on chromosomal radiosensitivity was also investigated. Blood samples from 35 cervical cancer patients (20 HIV-negative and 15 HIV-positive) and 20 healthy controls were exposed to X-rays at doses of 6 MV of 2 and 4 Gy in vitro. Chromosomal radiosensitivity was assessed using the micronucleus (MN) assay. MN scores were obtained using the Metafer 4 platform, an automated microscopic system. Three scoring methods of the MNScore module of Metafer were applied and compared. Cervical cancer patients had higher MN values than healthy controls, with HIV-positive patients having the highest MN values. Differences between groups were significant when using a scoring method that corrects for false positive and false negative MN. The present study suggested increased chromosomal radiosensitivity in HIV-positive South African cervical cancer patients.

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