Medical mass spectrometry - current status

Medical mass spectrometry - current status

VI trenakin analytical chnnisty, vol. /, no. 5,1982 north-east and north-west China. By the end of 1980, 2.61 million hectares of land had been affo...

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VI

trenakin analytical chnnisty, vol. /, no. 5,1982

north-east and north-west China. By the end of 1980, 2.61 million hectares of land had been afforested and an additional 370,000 hectares planted with saplings.

Environmental monitoring A nationwide environmental monitoring system has been established which will soon comprise 290 individual stations. Preparations are now under way to build a central national monitoring station, In addition to the 16 stations and 145 monitoring points along the coast, several have been established along the Yangtze, Huaihe and Yellow Rivers, as well as their tributaries. Vehicles and ships have been designed and constructed for environmental monitoring (Fig. 1).

Research Scientific research in environmental science is carried out in numerous research institutes, universities and monitoring stations throughout China. The Institute ofEnvironmental Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is the largest and most important centre of research and development, but in addition to this each province has its own research institute for environmental protection. More than a dozen universities have groups engaged in work on environmental sciences and also offer courses for postgraduate studies. The largest of these is the Institute of Environmental Sciences of Nanjing University, which concentrates on six topics - chemistry, biology, geography, atmospheric en-

JAPAN

Medical mass spectrometry - current status In recent years, Japanese scientists have significantly increased their use of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry in a variety oflields. Initially, mass spectrometry was applied to the chemistry of natural products and petrochemistry. However, the introduction of GC/MS in Japan has stimulated its application to many biochemical and medical research problems. The rapid growth of GC/ MS in these fields led to the formation of the Japanese Society for Medical Mass Spectrometry in 1976 under the leadership of Yuichi Yamamura, President of Osaka University, the Society President and Isamu Matsumoto, the General Secretary. The First Annual Meeting of the Society was held in October, 1976. The membership has grown from 180 in 1976 to 510 at the present time, with 40-50 new members joining each year. At its inception the Society was composed of a diverse group of scientists with various research interests ranging from instrumentation and fragmentation to medical applications. During the past 5 years, however, Society membership has become more focused and is now composed of medical researchers (63%), pharmacologists (19%), environmental scientists and forensic chemists (7%)) as well as

others (11%). Fifty-live percent of Society members are medical doctors. At the recent Sixth Annual Meeting in October, 1981, the papers presented reflected this emphasis, with the majority reporting clinical applications (70%). Specific medical topics discussed included inborn errors of amino acid, carboxylic acid and steroid metabolism, malignant tumors, liver disease, kidney disease and the mechanism of these diseases. Other topics included biochemistry (17%) and environmental science forensic chemistry ( 13%).

Annual meeting The Sixth Annual Meeting also included plenary lectures by outstanding foreign scientists. Professor D. M. Desiderio of the University of Tennessee described the use of mass spectrometry to clarify the structure of unknown biological neuropeptides. Professor K. Biemann of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discussed his adaptation of a mass spectrometer to fast atom bombardment ionization for determination of the amino acid sequence of proteins. Professor A. L. Burlingame of University of California explained his analysis of human conjugated bile salts and oligosaccharides using fast atom bom-

vironment, noise physics and the protection of underground water. An Institute of the Science of Environmental Law has recently been established in Wuhan University. At the present time the Chinese government is unable to appropriate sufficient funds to fully implement the new environmental regulations. The result is that while environmental protection has made major advances in the last 2 years some serious problems remain. HUNG KAO

Professor Hung Kao is Director of the Institute of Environmental Scimccs of the University of Nanjing, Nanjing, Peoples Republic of China. He is also an advisory editor fbr TrAC.

bardment and field desorption mass spectrometry. Professor H.-Ch. Curtius of Zurich University reported on his GC-MS studies of inborn errors of metabolism including pterins, peptides and steroids. A workshop on LC-MS and sample preparation was held on the day before the meeting. Two hundred scientists attended the Annual Meeting and 120 participated in the workshop. The Society sponsors visits to Japan by foreign scientists. Some are invited to attend the Annual Meeting, present a lecture and then visit a number of laboratories and universities for additional lectures and discussions with Japanese scientists. Outstanding foreign scientists are also invited at other times for special lectures sponsored by the Society. Professor V. H. Brandenberger of Ziirich University lectured in Japan in March and April of 1980 and Professor G. R. Waller of Oklahoma State University lectured in May, 1981, under this program. This contact between scientists of different countries serves to stimulate new international coresearch and operation.

Publications The Japanese Society for Medical Mass Spectrometry publishes the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting each year. The 300-400 page publication includes 14 pages for special lectures, 18 pages for plenary lectures,

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and four pages for papers by Japanese participants. English abstracts, titles and authors’ names are included and are indexed in Chemical Abstracts. The Proceedings are published prior to the Annual Meeting to allow participants to review the contents before the lectures are presented. Copies of the Proceedings are distributed to other scientific societies in a number of foreign countries. The Society also publishes a newsletter, GC-MS News, every other month. This includes information about the Japanese Society for Medical Mass Spectrometry and related organizations, short contributions by Japanese and foreign scientists about current work, biographical sketches of outstanding international scientists and introductions to new scientific journals. GC-MS News is sent to foreign scientists and institutions all over the world as a service of the Japanese Society for Medical Mass Spectrometry. Articles submitted in English are published in Japanese, but foreign readers receive a copy of the English original. GC-MS News has served to increase Japanese scientists’ knowledge of GC-MS and has disseminated information about the Society and publicized Japanese scientific efforts all over the world.

International co-operation The Japanese Society for Medical Mass Spectrometry co-operates with similar organizations in other countries in an effort to promote international GC/MS research. The Society will join the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, the Mass Spectrometry Society of Japan, and the Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry in co-sponsoring the 30th Annual Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics from 6 June to 11 June, 1982, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Approximately 100 members of the Japanese Society for Medical Mass Spectrometry will attend the Hawaii Meeting. Our members will also participate in other international conferences, including the 4th International Symposium on Quantitative Mass Spectrometry in Life Sciences to be held in May, 1982, in Ghent, Belgium, the International Conference on Gas Chromatography and Mass

Spectrometry in Biomedical Sciences in June, 1982, Bordighera, Italy, and the 9th International Mass Spectrometry Conference, in September, 1982, in Vienna, Austria. The rapidly growing membership of the Japanese Society for Medical Mass Spectrometry is evidence of the continuing expansion of medical mass

spectrometry in Japan and the importance of international scientific cooperation to facilitate progress in vital medical research. ISAMU MATSUMOTO

Professor Matsumoto work-s at the Research Institute of Medical Mass Spcctrometry, Kurume University School of Medicine, Fukuoka 630, Kurume, Japan

AUSTRALIA

Lead gives the lead to mineral deposits The metal lead is likely to save money for mineral exploration companies in the next decade, Analysis of the type of lead present in samples of rocks, soils, plants, or groundwaters can be used to indicate whether they: 0 occur near a potential uranium deposit; 0 denote proximity to a sulphide ore deposit containing copper, lead and zinc; or 0 only represent ‘background’ rocks not associated with any economic deposit. Dr Brian Gulson of The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s (CSIRO) Division of Mineralogy in Sydney is developing this analysis technique, using a recently acquired mass spec‘The ‘lead technique’, trometer. although expensive, could save excompanies ploration considerable amounts of money they might other-

wise spend on expensive drilling to determine if worthwhile mineralization is present, and what type it is. The mass spectrometer records the results and a scientist can use them to accurately determine the ratios between the four isotopes of lead in a sample. The differing ratios can then be used to determine the origin of the lead. For example, lead is a radioactive decay product of uranium, and it also occurs as a major element in association with copper, zinc and silver. But lead associated with uranium shows very different isotopic ratios to lead from a silver-lead-zinc deposit, and ‘background’ lead has different ratios again. Being able to accurately identify the type and possible extent of a mineral deposit from small and varied exploration samples has many economic advantages. The mass spectrometer is part of a range of analytical tools being assembled by CSIRO to tackle the problem of finding more effective methods for locating ore deposits.

UNITED KINGDOM

The Perkin-Elmer LC Challenge Perkin-Elmer’s LC (Liquid Chromatography) Group are organizing a series of Liquid Chromatography Working Exhibitions at a number of major U.K. companies. The theme of the exhibitions will be ‘The PE Challenge’ and they are designed to present Perkin-Elmer’s revolutionary new ‘Very High Speed Liquid Chromatography’.

Perkin-Elmer are challenging chromatographers to provide a chromatogram obtained on a conventional LC which they will then analyse in half the time! If you would like the Perkin-Elmer LC Team to vist your Laboratory contact Martin Perry on Beaconsfield (049 46) 5151.