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Abstract  

A study was undertaken to assess the air quality of Lahore by the elemental analysis of air conditioner (AC) filter dust samples collected from 15 different commercial sites. Samples were prepared using the Leeds Public Analyst Method and were analyzed using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) for up to 31 elements. The elements Al, As, Ba, Ce, Co, Cr, Cs, Fe, Hf, K, La, Lu, Mn, Na, Nd, Rb, Sc, Sm, Sn, Ta, Th, Yb and Zn were detected in all 15 samples whereas the remaining elements have been detected in fewer samples; i.e. Mg, Sb and Tb were detected in 14 samples, Br and V in ten samples, U in nine samples and Ca and Ti in eight samples only. Al, Ca, Fe, K, Mg and Na were determined in all samples at percentage levels. The concentrations of most elements were found to lie around the mean values for the 15 samples studied and were not orders of magnitude different. However the concentrations of Ca, Mg, Sn and Zn were found to be more variable and were found to be dependant on activities such as construction, fruit and vegetable handling, tin plating and transport, respectively.

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Summary

A new simple, accurate, selective, precise, economical and stability-indicating high-performance thin layer chromatographic method for the analysis of diosgenin in callus and rhizome of Dioscorea deltoidea was developed and validated. The method was developed on TLC aluminium plates precoated with silica gel 60F254 using solvent system petroleum ether-isopropanol (12:1, v/v), which gives a compact spot of diosgenin (R F value 0.76 ± 0.02). Densitometric analysis of diosgenin was carried out in the absorbance mode at 366 nm after spraying with methanolic sulphuric acid. The linear regression analysis data for the calibration plots showed good linear relationship with r 2 = 0.991 and 0.995 for diosgenin with respect to peak height and peak area, respectively, in the concentration range of 100–1000 ng per spot. The limits of detection and quantification for diosgenin were 16.58 and 50.25 ng per spot. The proposed method was applied for determination of diosgenin in rhizome of D. deltoidea (0.047% w/w) as well as in in vitro culture (callus) (0.092% w/w). Statistical analysis proves that the method is repeatable, selective and accurate for the estimation of diosgenin in D. deltoidea. The developed method effectively resolved the diosgenin in D. deltoidea; hence, it can be employed for routine analysis as a stability indicating method.

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Abstract  

5-(4-Pyridyl)nonane has been evaluated as a solvent for trace amounts (<5·10–5 M) of tungsten(VI) from aqueous chloride-thiocyanate solutions. Remarkable enhancements in metal extractability are observed on the addition of SCN to aqueous hydrochloric acid solutions. Extremal partition coefficients are obtained from 0.1 M HCl in 0.2 M KSCN. Diminutions of the metal extractability are produced by relatively high (>0.5 M) SCN concentrations and increased concentration of the supporting acid. Slope analysis data, under optimal parameters, indicates the most probable composition of the extractable species as WO2(SCN)2·2PYN. Neutral anions do not have any significant effect on the D values. Behaviour of a number of metal ions has been checked using optimal aqueous conditions of extraction. The investigation shows that the reagent has a great potential for the preconcentration of a number of metal ions including the common toxins.

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Abstract  

Size fractionated PM2.5 and PM2.5–10 airborne particulates collected from the airport housing society site in Rawalpindi were characterized using the non destructive ion beam analysis method. Proton induced X-ray emission and Proton induced gamma ray emission were employed to quantify 28 trace elements in fine and coarse filter samples. The average PM2.5 and PM2.5–10 masses were found to be 15.7 and 144 μg/m3, respectively which, when combined exceed the Pakistani limit for PM10 of 100 μg/m3. The average black carbon (BC) content was found to be 3.49 and 5.95 μg/m3 corresponding to 23.8 and 4.30% of the fine and coarse masses, respectively. The reconstructed mass (RCM) was calculated for both particle modes using 5 pseudo sources, namely soil, sulfate, smoke, sea salt and BC. It was found that 5 sources could account for 80.6 and 49.0% of the fine and coarse masses, respectively. The low value of RCM for the coarse mode may imply a much higher organic content. The major sources contributing to the fine mode were soil, sulfate and BC. Similarly for the coarse mass fraction it was found that soil was the major source whereas the sulfate and BC sources did not contribute as much.

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Abstract  

The elements Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn were determined in dust samples collected from air conditioner (AC) filters from 15 commercial sites of Lahore using flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS). The elements Cr, Mn and Zn were also determined using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). The results obtained showed that higher amounts of these metals were measured in these dust samples than normally found in soil. This was especially true for Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn. Generally the amounts of Cd, Cr and Mn did not vary throughout the city of Lahore but the amounts of the traffic related Cu, Pb and Zn elements had the more variable ranges of 30–140, 30–230 and 74–2810 mg/kg respectively. The concentrations obtained for Cr, Mn and Zn by INAA were found to be higher than those obtained using FAAS. Analysis of the data obtained showed the digestion procedure employed to be the possible cause for this occurrence. It was also found that Mn was being over-estimated by INAA due to the interference from the Mg peak.

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Abstract  

Tuna fish flesh homogenate, IAEA-436, was received under the IAEA Analytical Quality Control Services (AQCS) intercomparison programme. Instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) was used to determine Al, As, Br, Ca, Ce, Cl, Co, Cr, Cs, Eu, Fe, Hg, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Rb, Se, Sb, Sm, and Zn in this proposed reference material (RM). IAEA-407 (Fish Homogenate) and NIST-SRM-1572 (Citrus Leaves) were used for quality assurance (QA) purposes. Due to the very low levels of most elements in IAEA-436, large discrepancies were observed between our results for IAEA-436 and data cited by the IAEA.

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Abstract  

Over a 1,000 pairs of coarse and fine filters were collected using Gent samplers and polycarbonate filters from three sites in Islamabad from the period 1998 to 2010. The black carbon in these samples was determined by reflectance measurement while their elemental composition were determined using the techniques of instrumental neutron activation analysis, ion beam analysis and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Islamabad is a well planned and relatively small city as compared to Lahore or Karachi therefore its air quality is better than the air quality of other major Pakistani cities. It was found that the new air quality standards being implemented by the Pakistani government on the 1st of January 2012 may not be attained even in Islamabad without the implementation of control and remedial measures. An overview of the elemental data obtained and calculation of enrichment factors shows that the particles in Islamabad originate from re-suspended soil, vehicular emissions and coal combustion. However further work is required for identification of pollution sources and their origin.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors: M.Z. Islam, M.A. Siddique, N. Akter, M.F.R.K. Prince, M.R. Islam, M. Anisuzzaman, and M.A.K. Mian

Genetic diversity of 28 restorer lines of rice was studied under irrigated condition through Mahalanobis D2 statistics and simple sequence repeat (SSR) banding patterns. The cluster analysis grouped the lines into five clusters. The principal component analysis showed that the first four components with vector values > 1 contributed 76.32% of the total variations. The intra- and inter-cluster distances were the maximum in cluster V (0.86) and between clusters II and V (15.14), respectively. Flag leaf area, plant height, panicle length, five panicle weight, primary branches per panicle and secondary branches per panicle had maximum contribution towards genetic divergence. A total of 24 alleles varied from 2 to 5 with an average of 2.67 alleles per locus were detected for the nine microsatellite markers across 28 lines. The polymorphism information content (PIC) values ranged from 0.12 to 0.71 with an average of 0.29. RM229 was considered as the best markers on the basis of the highest PIC value. Phylogenetic cluster analysis of the SSR data based on distance divided all lines into three groups (A, B and C), whereas the cluster analysis divided these lines into five groups (I, II, III, IV and V). Besides, evaluation of yield contributing traits demonstrated that the restorer lines under the current study possessed a considerable genetic diversity. Potential lines such as BU1IR, China2R, China1R, BHD3R, IR509R and Heera5R can be used as pollen parent in developing new commercial hybrid varieties. Therefore, potential restorer lines need to be conserved in Genebank for future hybrid rice breeding programs.

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