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(1/78) Rapid method for the solid-phase extraction and GC-MS analysis of flunitrazepam and its major metabolites in urine.

Recently, flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) has become an increasingly popular drug of abuse among young adults, who take it for its euphoric effects. In other cases, the drug has been used by rapists for its sedative and hypnotic effects that can induce a catatonialike trance and memory loss in potential victims; as a result, it has been nicknamed the "date-rape drug". For these reasons, the Drug Enforcement Administration recently considered adding the drug (a.k.a. "Roofies") to the same category as heroin and LSD. A selective and sensitive technique has been developed for extracting, detecting, and identifying flunitrazepam and its two major metabolites (7-aminoflunitrazepam and N-desmethylflunitrazepam) in human urine. Using a solid-phase extraction cartridge containing a "mixed-mode" bonded silica gel (Bond Elut Certify), flunitrazepam and its metabolites were selectively isolated from other urine components and quantitated and identified by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry with a benchtop ion mass spectrometer. The extraction method is rapid, reproducible, and precise, and it has a broad linear working range. The overall extraction efficiency was found to be more than 90% for the parent drug as well as the two major metabolites.  (+info)

(2/78) End-specific covalent photo-dependent immobilisation of synthetic DNA to paramagnetic beads.

A novel approach for light-dependent covalent immobilisation of synthetic DNA oligomers to amino-coated paramagnetic beads is described. A hetero-bifunctional photo-reactive cross-linking chemical, 4-nitrophenyl 3-diazopyruvate, is applied to attach 5' amino-modified DNA to both silica and polystyrene paramagnetic beads. The coupling yields are comparable with similar methods in which no photo-reactive chemicals are used. The immobilised DNA on the polystyrene and silica beads was used efficiently in hybridisation experiments. An extension of this approach to light-directed immobilisation of specific DNA to beads, located at different positions in micro-flow reactors, opens up a range of integrated applications to complex diagnostics, evolutionary biotechnology and novel areas such as DNA computing.  (+info)

(3/78) A comparative study of the ability of different solvents and adsorbents to extract aroma compounds from alcoholic beverages.

Seven liquid solvent systems--dichloromethane, dichloromethane-pentane (1:1), freon 113, diethyl ether-pentane (1:1 and 1:9), ethyl acetate-pentane (with and without an additional salting-out effect) (1:3 and 1:20), and seven solid-phase extraction (SPE) systems (Amberlite XAD-2, 4, 7, and 16; Porapak Q; C8; and C18)--are comparatively studied. The distribution coefficients between the extraction system and a hydroalcoholic solution (12% v/v in ethanol, pH = 3.2) of 14 selected volatile compounds belonging to different chemical families and polarities are calculated. The results are processed by factor analysis and cluster analysis, and the following conclusions are reached. First, the efficiency of extraction decreases in this order: polymeric sorbents > silica-based sorbents > liquid-liquid systems with salting-out effect approximately dichloromethane > rest of liquid solvents. Second, the addition of salt mainly increases the recovery of compounds with Lewis acid properties. Third, the efficiency of the extraction of a liquid solvent depends not only on its polarity but also on its solubility in water. Fourth, in regards to the selectivity of the SPE systems, Porapak Q is the best to extract nonpolar compounds, Amberlite XAD 4 and 16 provide the least selective extraction profiles, and C8 and C18 have a special ability to extract compounds with a Bronstedt-Lowry character. Results indicate that in all cases liquid solvents can be replaced satisfactorily by SPE systems.  (+info)

(4/78) Molecular confinement influences protein structure and enhances thermal protein stability.

The sol-gel method of encapsulating proteins in a silica matrix was investigated as a potential experimental system for testing the effects of molecular confinement on the structure and stability of proteins. We demonstrate that silica entrapment (1) is fully compatible with structure analysis by circular dichroism, (2) allows conformational studies in contact with solvents that would otherwise promote aggregation in solution, and (3) generally enhances thermal protein stability. Lysozyme, alpha-lactalbumin, and metmyoglobin retained native-like solution structures following sol-gel encapsulation, but apomyoglobin was found to be largely unfolded within the silica matrix under control buffer conditions. The secondary structure of encapsulated apomyoglobin was unaltered by changes in pH and ionic strength of KCl. Intriguingly, the addition of other neutral salts resulted in an increase in the alpha-helical content of encapsulated apomyoglobin in accordance with the Hofmeister ion series. We hypothesize that protein conformation is influenced directly by the properties of confined water in the pores of the silica. Further work is needed to differentiate the steric effects of the silica matrix from the solvent effects of confined water on protein structure and to determine the extent to which this experimental system mimics the effects of crowding and confinement on the function of macromolecules in vivo.  (+info)

(5/78) New pulp biobleaching system involving manganese peroxidase immobilized in a silica support with controlled pore sizes.

Attempts have been made to use manganese peroxidase (MnP) for chlorine-free pulp biobleaching, but they have not been commercially viable because of the enzyme's low stability. We developed a new pulp biobleaching method involving mesoporous material-immobilized manganese peroxidase from Phanerochaete chrysosporium. MnP immobilized in FSM-16, a folded-sheet mesoporous material whose pore size is nearly the same as the diameter of the enzyme, had the highest thermal stability and tolerance to H(2)O(2). MnP immobilized in FSM-16 retained more than 80% of its initial activity even after 10 days of continuous reaction. We constructed a thermally discontinuous two-stage reactor system, in which the enzyme (39 degrees C) and pulp-bleaching (70 degrees C) reactions were performed separately. When the treatment of pulp with MnP by means of the two-stage reactor system and alkaline extraction was repeated seven times, the brightness of the pulp increased to about 88% within 7 h after completion of the last treatment.  (+info)

(6/78) TLC separation of carbohydrates on silica gel modified with copper (II) salts.

Impregnation of silica gel was conducted by immersion method with the help of copper (II) sulfate and ammonia complex: Cu(NH3)4(2+). The adsorbents thus obtained were used for the analysis of carbohydrates of mono-di-oligosaccharides. The influence of the pH of the impregnating solution (pH = 5 and pH = 8) on the retention of the analysed compounds was examined. The results were interpreted in view of the process of metal ions complexation by sugar molecules in water. The effects of organic modifiers: propanol-2, methyl-ethyl ketone, acetonitrile, acetone added to the water phase on the retention and selectivity of the sugars determination on the modified stationary phase were studied.  (+info)

(7/78) Dynamics of green fluorescent protein mutant2 in solution, on spin-coated glasses, and encapsulated in wet silica gels.

Single-molecule experiments are performed by investigating spectroscopic properties of molecules either diffusing in and out of the observation volume or fixed in space by different immobilization procedures. To evaluate the effect of immobilization methods on the structural and dynamic properties of proteins, a highly fluorescent mutant of the green fluorescent protein, GFPmut2, was spectroscopically characterized in bulk solutions, dispersed on etched glasses, and encapsulated in wet, nanoporous silica gels. The emission spectrum, the fluorescence lifetimes, the anisotropy, and the rotational correlation time of GFPmut2, encapsulated in silica gels, are very similar to those obtained in solution. This finding indicates that the gel matrix does not alter the protein conformation and dynamics. In contrast, the fluorescence lifetimes of GFPmut2 on glasses are two-to fourfold higher and the fluorescence anisotropy decays yield almost no phase shifts. This indicates that the interaction of the protein with the bare glass surface induces a significant structural perturbation and severely restricts the rotational motion. Single molecules of GFPmut2 on glasses or in silica gels, identified by confocal image analysis, show a significant stability to illumination with bleaching times of the order of 90 and 60 sec, respectively. Overall, these data indicate that silica gels represent an ideal matrix for following biologically relevant events at a single molecule level.  (+info)

(8/78) The binding of tyrosine hydroxylase to negatively charged lipid bilayers involves the N-terminal region of the enzyme.

Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of catecholamines. We have studied the association of recombinant human TH with model membranes by using either liposomes or silica gel beads coated with single phospholipid bilayers (TRANSIL). The use of TRANSIL beads has allowed the determination of apparent dissociation constants (Kd) for the binding of the enzyme to negatively charged bilayers (Kd=230-380 microM, at pH 6.0-7.0). Binding to the bilayers is accompanied by a decrease in enzyme activity. Proteolysed forms of the enzyme show decreased binding affinity and two putative amphipathic N-terminal alpha-helices are proposed to be involved in membrane binding. As seen by circular dichroism, binding to the bilayer does not seem to induce significant changes on the secondary structure content of the enzyme, but alpha-helical structures appear to be stabilized against thermal denaturation in the membrane-bound state. Thus, amphitropism, a mechanism that regulates the function of peripheral proteins by weak binding to membrane lipids, may add to the factors that regulate both the activity and the stability of TH.  (+info)