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Nuclear Techniques in National Security Studies on Contraband Detection

IEC-based neutron generator for security inspection system

Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: G. H. Miley, L. Wu, and H. J. Kim

Summary  

The Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC) is authorized by the Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan to coordinate all off-site radiological response assistance to state and local governments, in the event of a major radiological emergency in the United States. The FRMAC is established by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, to coordinate all Federal assets involved in conducting a comprehensive program of radiological environmental monitoring, sampling, radioanalysis, quality assurance, and dose assessment. During an emergency response, the initial analytical data is provided by portable field instrumentation. As incident responders scale up their response based on the seriousness of the incident, local analytical assets and mobile laboratories add additional capability and capacity. During the intermediate phase of the response, data quality objectives and measurement quality objectives are more rigorous. These higher objectives will require the use of larger laboratories, with greater capacity and enhanced capabilities. These labs may be geographically distant from the incident, which will increase sample management challenges. This paper addresses emergency radioanalytical capability and capacity and its utilization during FRMAC operations.

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Grains of 12 accessions of Triticum timopheevii (Zhuk.) Zhuk. ssp. timopheevii (AAGG, 2n = 4x = 28) and one bread wheat cultivar Chinese Spring (CS) and one durum wheat cultivar Langdon (LDN) grown across two years were analyzed for grain iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) concentrations. All the 12 tested T. timopheevii ssp. timopheevii genotypes showed significantly higher concentration of grain Fe and Zn than CS and LDN. Aboundant genetic variability of both the Fe and Zn concentrations was observed among the T. timopheevii ssp. timopheevii accessions, averagely varied from 47.06 to 90.26 mg kg−1 and from 30.05 to 65.91 mg kg−1, respectively. Their grain Fe and Zn concentrations between years exhibited a significantly positive correlation with the correlation coefficients r = 0.895 and r = 0.891, respectively, indicating the highly genetic stability. Flag leaf possessed twice or three times higher concentrations for both Fe and Zn than grain, and a significantly high positive correlation appeared between the two organs with r = 0.648 for Fe and r = 0.957 for Zn concentrations, respectively, suggesting flag leaves might be indirectly used for evaluating grain Zn and Fe contents. Significant correlations occurred between grain Fe and Zn concentrations, and between grain Zn concentration and the two agronomic traits of plant height and number of spikelets per spike. Both the concentrations were not related to seed size or weight as well as NAM-G1 gene, implying the higher grain Fe and Zn concentrations of T. timopheevii ssp. timopheevii species are not ascribed to concentration effects of seed and the genetic control of NAM-G1 gene. There might be some other biological factors impacting the grain’s Zn and Fe concentrations. These results indicated T. timopheevii ssp. timopheevii species might be a promising genetic resource with high Fe and Zn concentrations for the biofortification of current wheat cultivars.

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The inhibitory effects of phytic acid (PA) on the browning of fresh-cut chestnuts and the associated mechanisms of PA on polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and peroxidase (POD) activities were investigated. The enzymatic browning of chestnut surfaces and interiors was suppressed by soaking shelled and sliced chestnuts in a PA solution. The specific activities of PPO and POD extracted from chestnuts declined due to inhibition by PA. PA was determined to be a competitive inhibitor of both PPO and POD by Lineweaver-Burk plots. The binding modes of PA with PPO and POD were analysed by AutoDock 4.2.

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Abstract  

The two complexes of [Ln(CA)3bipy]2 (Ln = Tb and Dy; CA = cinnamate; bipy = 2,2′-bipyridine) were prepared and characterized by elemental analysis, infrared spectra, ultraviolet spectra, thermogravimetry and differential thermogravimetry techniques. The thermal decomposition behaviors of the two complexes under a static air atmosphere can be discussed by thermogravimetry and differential thermogravimetry and infrared spectra techniques. The non-isothermal kinetics was investigated by using a double equal-double steps method, the nonlinear integral isoconversional method and the Starink method. The mechanism functions of the first decomposition step of the two complexes were determined. The thermodynamic parameters (ΔH , ΔG and ΔS ) and kinetic parameters (activation energy E and the pre-exponential factor A) of the two complexes were also calculated.

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Abstract  

Thermal analysis of sulfurization of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) with elemental sulfur was investigated by thermogravimetry and differential thermal analysis of the mixture of polyacrylonitrile and elemental sulfur up to 600°C. Due to the volatilization of sulfur, the different heating rate (10 and 20 K min−1) and different mixture proportion of polyacrylonitrile and elemental sulfur were adopted to run the analysis. The different heating rates make the DSC curves of sulfur different, but make the DSC curves of PAN similar. In the DSC curve of sulfur for the heating rate of 20 K min−1 around 400°C, a small exothermic peak occurs at 400°C in the wide endothermic peak around 380∼420°C, indicative of that there is an exothermic reaction around 400°C. In the DSC curves of the mixture, the peaks around 320°C are exothermic as the content of sulfur is below 3.5:1 and endothermic as the content of sulfur is over 4:1, indicating that one of the reactions between PAN and sulfur takes place around 320°C. In the TG curves of the mixture, the mass losses begin at 220°C, and sharply drop down from 280°C. The curves for the low sulfur content obviously show two steps of mass loss, and curves for the high sulfur content show only one step of mass loss, indicative of more sulfur is benefit for the complete sulfurization of PAN. This study demonstrates that the TG/DSC analysis can give the parameter for the sulfurization, even if the starting mixture contains the volatile sulfur.

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Salt stress is one of the major abiotic stress which severely limits plant growth and reduces crop productivity across the world. In the present study, the effects of exogenous pyridoxal-5-phosphate (vitamin B6, VB6) on seedling growth and development of wheat under salt stress were investigated. The results showed that exogenous application of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (VB6) significantly increased the RWC, biomass, the concentration of photosynthetic pigments, proline, the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD), together with decreasing the content of Malondiadehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in wheat leaves under salt stress. Meanwhile, the transcript level of P5CR, P5CS, SOD, TaSOS1 and TaSOS4 were also up-regulated after treatment with pyridoxal-5-phosphate. VB6 acts as a signal in regulating the activities of plant antioxidant enzymes and SOS pathway to improve resistance to salt stress. The current study results may give an insight into the regulatory roles of VB6 in improving salt stress and VB6 could be an easily and effective method to improve salt-stress tolerance to wheat in the field condition. It is urgency to understand the molecular mechanism of VB6 to enhance the salt tolerance of wheat in the next work.

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Abstract  

The newly manufactured N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) polymer gel is composed of four components, i.e., gelatin, monomer (NIPAM), crosslinker (N,N’-methylenebisacrylamide, Bis), and antioxidant (tetrakis hydroxymethyl phosphonium chloride, THPC). In this study, we investigated the effects of gel composition on the dose response of NIPAM polymer gel. A statistical experiment to analyze the contribution of each composition to the linearity and sensitivity of NIPAM gel was performed. Results indicate that the amount of gelatin, NIPAM (15.17%), Bis, and THPC have dominant effects on the sensitivity of the gel, with contributions of 59.73, 15.17, 10.64, and 14.45%, respectively. The amount of gelatin and Bis mainly affected the linearity of the gel, with contributions of 44.70 and 50.99%, respectively. The linearity of most compositions of the gel was greater than 0.99 when (%C)/(%T) was lower than 8.0. Optimal (%C)/(%T) for higher sensitivity should be in the range of 4−9. The temporal stability experiment showed that the dose response curve attained stability at about 5 h after irradiation and persisted up to 3 months.

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In this study, the cDNA of homocysteine S-methyltransferase was isolated from Aegilops tauschii Coss., with the gene accordingly designated as AetHMT1. Similar to other methyltransferases, AetHMT1 contains a GGCCR consensus sequence for a possible zinc-binding motif near the C-terminal and a conserved cysteine residue upstream of the zinc-binding motif. Analysis of AetHMT1 uncovered no obvious chloroplast or mitochondrial targeting sequences. We functionally expressed AetHMT1 in Escherichia coli and confirmed its biological activity, as evidenced by a positive HMT enzyme activity of 164.516 ± 17.378 nmol min−1 mg−1 protein when catalyzing the transformation of L-homocysteine. Compared with the bacterium containing the empty vector, E. coli harboring the recombinant AetHMT1 plasmid showed much higher tolerance to selenate and selenite. AetHMT1 transcript amounts in different organs were increased by Na2SeO4 treatment, with roots accumulating higher amounts than stems, old leaves and new leaves. We have therefore successfully isolated HMT1 from Ae. tauschii and characterized the biochemical and physiological functions of the corresponding protein.

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Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry
Authors: L. Yang, Li Sun, Fen Xu, J. Zhang, J. Zhao, Z. Zhao, C. Song, R. Wu, and Riko Ozao

Abstract  

The microcalorimetric method has been used to study the effects of cefpiramide and ceftizoxime sodium on the E. coli growth. The results revealed that these two cephalosporins may alter the metabolic way of the E. coli. Moreover, the lethal doses of cefpiramide and ceftizoxime sodium are 2.000 and 0.2000 μg mL−1, respectively. Combining with the relationships between growth rate constant (k), the maximum power output (P m), the time corresponding to the maximum power output (t m) and cephalosporins concentration (C), one can draw the conclusion that the ceftizoxime sodium has a stronger inhibition effects on the growth of E. coli than that of cefpiramide and they both have the possibility to induce the drug fever.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors: D. Huang, H. Zhang, M. Tar, Y. Zhang, F. Ni, J. Ren, D. Fu, L. Purnhauser, and J. Wu

Stripe or yellow rust (Yr), caused by Puccinia striiformis Westend. (Pst), is one of the most important wheat diseases worldwide. New aggressive Pst races can spread quickly, even between countries and continents. To identify and exploit stripe rust resistance genes, breeders must characterize first the Pst resistance and genotypes of their cultivars. To find new sources of resistances it is important to study how wheat varieties respond to Pst races that predominate in other continents. In this study we evaluated stripe rust resistance in 53 Hungarian winter wheat cultivars in China. Twenty-four cultivars (45.3%) had all stage resistance (ASR) and 1 (1.9%) had adult-plant resistance (APR), based on seedling tests in growth chambers and adult-plant tests in fields. We molecularly genotyped six Yr resistance genes: Yr5, Yr10, Yr15, Yr17, Yr18, and Yr36. Yr18, an APR gene, was present alone in five cultivars, and in ‘GK Kapos’, that also had seedling resistance. The other five Yr genes were absent in all cultivars tested.

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