The integron is a genetic recombination system that catalyses the acquisition of genes on mobilisable elements called gene cassettes. In Vibrio species, multiple acquired gene cassettes form a cassette array that can comprise 1-3% of the bacterial genome. Since 75% of these gene cassettes contain genes encoding proteins of uncharacterised function, how the integron has driven adaptation and evolution in Vibrio species remains largely unknown. A feature of cassette arrays is the presence of large indels. Using Vibrio rotiferianus DAT722 as a model organism, the aim of this study was to determine how large cassette deletions affect vibrio physiology with a view to improving understanding into how cassette arrays influence bacterial host adaptation and evolution.
Pethidine (meperidine), a synthetic opiate, formally used as an analgesic in surgery and obstetrics, has been an abused drug of choice for some doctors. A case is presented in which a doctor, who previously admitted to using pethidine, was suspected of re-using, following a second positive urine test. A laboratory had reported the presence of pethidine in the doctors urine; however, the doctor denied re-use. The norpethidine (normeperidine) metabolite, normally found in urine, had not been detected, raising concern over the laboratorys conclusion and necessitating an independent investigation. Because the major metabolite of pethidine is pethidinic acid (meperidinic acid), accounting for approximately 40% of the excreted dose, its presence or absence were deemed to be important criteria in interpreting the laboratory result. Pethidinic acid was synthesized by alkaline hydrolysis of pethidine and used as a control. Urine samples from a patient receiving pethidine for pain, from the previous pethidine use of the doctor, and the urine under question plus the control were analyzed for the presence of pethidinic acid using electrospray mass spectrometry. Pethidinic acid was found in all samples except the one under dispute. The absence of pethidinic acid appeared to corroborate the doctors denial of re-use.
In 1979, Miller and Patel showed that a solution containing two diacetylene monomers, 2,4-hexadiyne-1,6-bis(phenylurethane) (HDDPU) and 2,4-hexadiyne-1,6-bis(p-chlorophenylurethane) (HDDCPU) could be used to develop latent fingermarks on a non-porous surface. In the current work, the same mixture (HDDPU:HDDCPU=10:1, in acetone solution) was used to develop fingermarks on a wide variety of surfaces, both non-porous and porous, including paper. An airbrush system was optimized for the application of the reagent solution. Once the solution evaporates on a surface, the monomers co-crystallize in different ways, depending upon a number of factors, including the surface residue. "Active" co-crystallization leads (with heat or radiation) to the formation of purple polymer, while "inactive" crystallization results in a non-polymerizable white deposit. Fingermark contrast was achieved as a result of active co-crystallization (giving purple polymer) in either the ridges or the furrows, depending upon the surface and other factors. A general observation (supported by spot tests with linseed oil, salt and amino acid solutions) was that on paper, oily materials are more likely to lead to the formation of the purple polymer, while the presence of water inhibits polymerization. However, these observations are not consistent across all other substrates. It is hypothesized that water disrupts hydrogen bonding between diacetylene molecules, and thus prevents the topochemical polymerization of the diacetylenes, which occurs in the solid state between favourably aligned monomers. An interesting observation was the development of fingermarks deposited on paper that had already been treated with the diacetylene reagent.
This article describes the use of an anti-Stokes luminescent material (upconverter), yttrium vanadate doped with ytterbium and erbium (YVO(4):Er,Yb), for the development of latent fingermarks on a range of non-porous surfaces. Anti-Stokes luminescent materials emit light at shorter wavelengths than the excitation wavelength. This property is unusual in both natural and artificial materials commonly found as exhibits in forensic science casework. As a result, fingermark detection techniques based on anti-Stokes luminescence are potentially extremely sensitive and selective. Latent fingermarks on non-luminescent and inherently luminescent substrates, including Australian polymer banknotes (a well-known difficult surface), were developed with YVO(4):Er,Yb by dry powder and wet powder techniques. The effectiveness of YVO(4):Er,Yb for fingermark detection was compared with that of cyanoacrylate fuming and of sodium yttrium tetrafluoride doped with ytterbium and erbium (NaYF(4):Er,Yb). The results illustrate some benefit of luminescent up-converting phosphors over traditional luminescence techniques for the detection of latent fingermarks.
Cyanoacrylate fuming is one of the most common techniques employed for the detection of latent fingermarks on non-porous surfaces such as plastic and glass. The technique is generally applied by exposing items of interest to the vapours generated by heating a suitable quantity of commercial cyanoacrylate adhesive. In this study, the potential for highly toxic hydrogen cyanide (HCN) to be generated from the overheating of cyanoacrylate was investigated. Two commercial cyanoacrylate adhesives and two quantitative methods for the determination of HCN were employed: (i) the sodium picrate method; and (ii) the picrate-resorcinol method. (13)C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis was used to confirm the presence of cyanide. In addition, the thermal decomposition of cyanoacrylate was studied using simultaneous thermogravimetric and differential thermal analysis (TGA-DTA). It was determined that detectable and quantifiable amounts of HCN were generated from the thermal decomposition of cyanoacrylate monomer and polymer at temperatures as low as 200 °C. Using an optimised picrate-resorcinol method, it was shown that around 10 ?g of HCN could be generated from the heating of 1g of cyanoacrylate monomer at 200 °C. For one of the adhesives tested, this increased to above 100 ?g of HCN when 1g of cyanoacrylate monomer was heated at 280 °C. Recommendations are provided that, if followed, should ensure that the cyanoacrylate fuming process can be safely applied with minimal risk to the operator.
Anecdotal evidence from forensic practitioners and studies conducted under controlled conditions have indicated that the reaction between 1,2-indanedione and the amino acids present in latent fingermark deposits is highly susceptible to ambient humidity. The addition of catalytic amounts of zinc chloride to the 1,2-indanedione working solution--usually in the order of 1:25 to 1:4 molar ratio (indanedione:zinc)--significantly improves the colour and luminescence of fingermarks treated under dry conditions but appears to have a negligible effect on fingermarks treated in humid environments. The results presented in this paper confirmed that zinc(II) ions added to the 1,2-indanedione working solution act as a Lewis acid catalyst, stabilising a key intermediate during a rate-limiting hydrolysis step. Furthermore, studying the reaction using a chromatography-grade cellulose substrate method previously reported confirmed that cellulose substrates play a major role in facilitating the indanedione-amino acid reaction by acting as a surface catalyst in the early stages of the reaction and by directing the formation of the desired luminescent product (Joulliés Pink).
This article describes the first use of an anti-Stokes material, or up-converter, for the development of latent fingermarks on a range of non-porous surfaces. Anti-Stokes materials can absorb long-wavelength light and emit light at a shorter wavelength. This property is unusual in both natural and artificial materials and so fingermark detection techniques based on anti-Stokes luminescence are potentially sensitive and selective. Latent fingermarks on luminescent and non-luminescent substrates, including Australian polymer banknotes (a well-known difficult surface), were developed with sodium yttrium tetrafluoride doped with erbium and ytterbium (NaYF(4):Er,Yb) by dry powder, wet powder, and cyanoacrylate staining techniques. This study illustrates the potential of up-converter phosphors for the detection of latent fingermarks.
In a further study of the thermal development of fingermarks on paper and similar surfaces, it is demonstrated that direct contact heating of the substrate using coated or ceramic surfaces at temperatures in excess of 230°C produces results superior to those obtained using hot air. Fingermarks can also be developed in this way on other cellulose-based substrates such as wood and cotton fabric, though ridge detail is difficult to obtain in the latter case. Fluorescence spectroscopy indicates that the phenomena observed during the thermal development of fingermarks can be reproduced simply by heating untreated white copy paper or filter paper, or these papers treated with solutions of sodium chloride or alanine. There is no evidence to suggest that the observed fluorescence of fingermarks heated on paper is due to a reaction of fingermark constituents on or with the paper. Instead, we maintain that the ridge contrast observed first as fluorescence, and later as brown charring, is simply an acceleration of the thermal degradation of the paper. Thermal degradation of cellulose, a major constituent of paper and wood, is known to give rise to a fluorescent product if sufficient oxygen is available [1-5]. However, the absence of atmospheric oxygen has only a slight effect on the thermal development of fingermarks, indicating that there is sufficient oxygen already present in paper to allow the formation of the fluorescent and charred products. In a depletion study comparing thermal development of fingermarks on paper with development using ninhydrin, the thermal technique was found to be as sensitive as ninhydrin for six out of seven donors. When thermal development was used in sequence with ninhydrin and DFO, it was found that only fingermarks that had been developed to the fluorescent stage (a few seconds of heating) could subsequently be developed with the other reagents. In the reverse sequence, no useful further development was noted for fingermarks that were treated thermally after having been developed with ninhydrin or DFO. Aged fingermarks, including marks from 1-year-old university examination papers were successfully developed using the thermal technique.
Although the ability to develop latent fingerprints on paper using heat alone has been noted previously, it has been considered impractical for casework and inferior to other techniques. Here a new refinement of the technique is demonstrated for the high quality development of latent fingerprints on porous surfaces such as paper. Fingerprints deposited on various papers were developed by exposing them to hot air with a temperature in the vicinity of 300 degrees C, for periods of c. 10-20 sec. Several different heating methods were tested. The novel observation was made that after shorter heating times, fluorescent prints could be observed. These became visible after longer heating times, as noted by earlier workers, but with greatly improved contrast compared with their results. Prints from various donors (and aged prints) were developed with excellent ridge contrast. Direct heating methods (such as with a hot plate or press) produced inferior results. The refined technique, which is simple, safe and inexpensive compared with conventional methods, has great potential for use in forensic laboratories.
This work examines the synthesis of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) from common starting materials that may be utilised by clandestine laboratory operators. Piperonal was prepared from two common starting materials, piperine (from pepper) and vanillin (a common flavouring). Piperine was converted to piperonal by ozonolysis and oxidative cleavage with potassium permanganate and tetrahydrofuran. Vanillin was converted to piperonal by demethylation with pyridine and aluminium chloride followed by methylenation with dichloromethane. The resulting piperonal samples were converted via a commonly encountered route to MDMA. The impurities that indicate a particular route were identified and the feasibility of each method was also assessed.
6-Monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM), being a unique metabolite of heroin, is routinely tested in urine samples to monitor heroin use. However, detection of 6-MAM-related opiates such as morphine is known to be affected by in vitro urine adulteration using oxidizing adulterants such as potassium nitrite. This study aimed to investigate the fate of 6-MAM after exposure to nitrite and to identify any formed oxidation products that may potentially be used for monitoring heroin abuse despite nitrite adulteration. Potassium nitrite (0.05 M and 0.6 M) was reacted with 6-MAM (5-10,000 ng/mL) in both water and blank urine with pH adjusted to range from 3 to 8. Following reaction at room temperature for varying periods, the reaction mixtures were monitored by both the CEDIA® Heroin Metabolite (6-AM) immunoassay and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methods. Structural elucidation of the isolated oxidation products was based on mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic evidence. Nitrite, under acidic environment (pH<7), was shown to be effective in masking the detection of 6-MAM by both the CEDIA® immunoassay and the LC-MS methods. 2-Nitro-6-monoacetylmorphine (2-nitro-MAM) was identified as the sole oxidation product, which remained detectable in urine for at least 11 days under the experimental conditions investigated. 2-Nitro-MAM was detectable in a urine sample of a heroin user after nitrite exposure. 2-Nitro-MAM has shown potential to serve as a marker for monitoring heroin abuse when urine is adulterated with nitrite. Certification of 2-nitro-MAM reference standard for further development of its quantitative testing methods is thus warranted.
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