The deposition of trace and major elements from the atmosphere to the ground is an important factor for plants, animals and
humans as well. Total suspended particulate matter was measured by a standard gravimetric technique. A scanning electron microscope
was used for the evaluation of the size distribution and morphological structures of the aerosol particulates trapped on the
surface of filter paper. The aerosol particulates were studied by a scanning electron microscope at various magnification.
The trace elemental composition in the atmosphere of Faisalabad was studied by using instrumental neutron activation analysis
(INAA) and atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). Concentrations of 23 trace elements and a major one were determined in samples
of aerosol particulates collected during a longe sampling period in the atmosphere at Faisalabad, Pakistan. Their amount was
two times higher than the limits adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the urban environment.
Most agronomic soils contain large reserves of total phosphorus [P], but the fixation and precipitation of P cause P deficiency, and in turn, restrict the growth of crops severely. Phosphorus replenishment, especially in sustainable production systems, remains a major challenge as it is mainly fertilizer-dependent. Though the use of chemical P fertilizers is obviously the best means to circumvent P deficiency in different agro-ecosystems, their use is always limited due to its spiralling cost. A greater interest has, therefore, been generated to find an alternative yet inexpensive technology that could provide sufficient P to plants while reducing the dependence on expensive chemical P fertilizers. Among the heterogeneous and naturally abundant microbes inhabiting the rhizosphere, the phosphate solubilizing microorganisms (PSM) including bacteria have provided an alternative biotechnological solution in sustainable agriculture to meet the P demands of plants. These organisms in addition to providing P to plants also facilitate plant growth by other mechanisms. Despite their different ecological niches and multiple functional properties, P-solubilizing bacteria have yet to fulfil their promise as commercial bio-inoculants. Current developments in our understanding of the functional diversity, rhizosphere colonizing ability, mode of actions and judicious application are likely to facilitate their use as reliable components in the management of sustainable agricultural systems.
Authors:M. Wasim, J. Zaidi, M. Arif, and I. Fatima
The k0 method has been introduced at the 30 kW miniaturized neutron source reactor (MNSR) at the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science
& Technology (PINSTECH). It involved the full energy peak efficiency calibration of the HPGe detector for different counting
geometries and the characterization of the neutron flux at four inner irradiation channels. The latter involved the determination
of the thermal to the epithermal flux ratio, epithermal flux shape factor, the modified spectral index, Westcott’s g-factor,
the Maxwellian neutron temperature and the fast flux. The method was validated by analyzing IAEA-SL1 (Lake Sediment) and NIST-SRM-1572
(Citrus Leaves) reference materials. All calculations were performed in Excel, including the optimization step. The results
revealed that most of the elements were estimated with less than 10% relative deviation from the certified value.
Authors:S. Husaini, J. Zaidi, Matiullah, M. Arif, and M. Akram
The indiscriminate discharge of untreated industrial effluents and solid wastes into the open environment poses a serious
threat to the ecosystem. Gujranwala is an industrial city of Pakistan wherein a large number of different industries are situated
and majority of them are not equipped with proper recycling or effluent treatment plants. Unfortunately, untreated industrial
effluents are locally used for the irrigation purposes which may result in higher concentrations of toxic metals in the crops
and vegetables. Therefore, prime objective of the present study was to determine concentrations of toxic metals in the polluted
soils, vegetables and crops grown in the vicinity of industrial areas using neutron activation analysis technique. The results
obtained showed higher values of toxic metals in the studied samples. The observed highest concentration of As (0.94 ± 0.06)
in spinach, Br (69 ± 9) in turnip, Co (0.83 ± 0.01) in millet, Cr (51.7 ± 4.2) in wheat, Mn (76.2 ± 7.3) in tomato, Sb (0.5 ± 0.06)
in rice, Cl (31698 ± 3921) and Se (3.4 ± 0.4) in carrot. These values are higher than those reported in the literature.
Authors:J. Zaidi, M. Arif, I. Fatima, S. Ahmed, and I. Qureshi
Rapid radiochemical neutron activation analysis (RNAA) procedures were developed and employed for the determination of 32
trace impurities in high purity aluminum thin foils. Anion exchange column chromatography was developed for the sequential
group chemical separation of various elements which helped in reducing the spectral interferences and improving the sensitivity
of the method. The procedure is simple and requires a very short time to separate the elements in three groups for radiometric
assay. To determine very low contents of uranium and thorium,239Np and233Pa as activation products were separated using anion exchange and coprecipitation methods. The impurity contents were found
to be low, therefore, their adverse effects on microelectronic devices would be negligible. Our data could partially be compared
with the data reported in literature.
Authors:J. Zaidi, M. Arif, I. Fatima, S. Ahmad, and I. Qureshi
Extensive use of chewing gums, by children in particular, entails the evaluation of trace element contents in them. Radiochemical neutron activation analysis (RNAA) was successfully employed to determine the concentration of 35 trace elements (essential, toxic and nonessential) in eight different brands of chewing gum generally consumed in Rawalpindi/Islamabad area. Comparison of trace element data of our work with literature has been presented. None of the elements detected in the brands of chewing gum examined was found to be present at a level representing a substantial contribution to the total dietary intake of the element.
Authors:J. H. Zaidi, I. Fatima, M. Arif, and I. H. Qureshi
Extensive use of coffee, by one-third of world's population, entails the evaluation of trace element contents in it. Instrumental
neutron activation analysis (INAA) was successfully employed to determine the concentration of 20 trace elements (essential,
toxic and nonessential) in four samples of coffee beans of various origins and two instant coffee brands most commonly consumed
in Pakistan. This study provides the base-line values of certain toxic and essential elements in coffee. The daily intake
of essential and toxic elements through coffee was estimated and compared with the recommended values. The cumulative intake
of Mn is four times higher than the recommended value and that of toxic elements is well below the tolerance limits.
Authors:J. Zaidi, I. Qureshi, M. Arif, and I. Fatima
Neutron activation analysis was used for the determination of 29 trace impurities is high-purity semiconductor grade Ge and Si. In order to determine very low contents of uranium and thorium,239Np and233Pa activation products were separated using anion exchange and LaF3 coprecipitation methods. The impurity contents were found to be very low, and therefore their adverse effects would be negligible.
Authors:J. Zaidi, I. Qureshi, M. Arif, and I. Fatima
IAEA and NBS biological certified reference materials have been analyzed by instrumental neutron activation analysis and concentration of 17 elements was determined. The elements determined were either completely missing or their certified values were not given in the original compilations. For quality assurance of our work, a comparison of data on missing trace elements in some of the CRMs has been presented. It seems that second round of analysis for the certification of these elements would be useful.
Authors:S. Husaini, J. Zaidi, Matiullah, K. Naeem, and M. Akram
The consumption of salad vegetables grown in industrial areas may create adverse affects on human health by causing serious
diseases and impairment of the vital organs of human body. To determine the concentrations of toxic metals such as, As, Co,
Cr, Cu, Mn, Sb and Se in salad vegetables namely tomato, cabbage, turnip, radish, carrot, onion, salad leaves, beet and cucumber,
the samples were collected within the vicinity of industrial areas of Faisalabad and Gujranwala regions. After processing,
the samples were analyzed using neutron activation analysis (NAA) technique. The highest concentrations were observed for
arsenic (2.3 ± 0.02 μg/g) in radish, manganese (16 ± 1.3 μg/g) in salad leaves, selenium (0.2 ± 0.02 μg/g) in cabbage and
antimony (0.08 ± 0.001 μg/g) in salad leaves respectively which were also higher than those recommended by the National Environmental
Quality Control (NEQC) standards and World Health Organization (WHO). Moreover, the amounts of injurious arsenic (2.3 μg/g)
and selenium (0.4 μg/g) in all salad vegetables according to standard values of NEQS are two to four times higher (1.0 and
0.1 μg/g), respectively.