Science Seminars

Synthesis of Artificial Bone Standards and Use in Elemental Bone Analysis for DNA Quantification


Accurate determination of multiple trace metals in human bone is important for archeological, biological, environmental, and forensic reasons.  Heavy metals can leech into bone causing a change in the structure and DNA damage.  It is difficult to achieve accurate quantitative data, due to the complexity of bone tissue matrices.  Currently a suitable and commercial standard reference material for human bone does not exist and is needed for quantitative analysis.  For our calibration material, electrochemical synthesis is used to synthesize and deposit hydroxyapatite (HA) from an electrolytic solution composed of simulated body fluid.  This standard reference material showed better compatibility to human bone than the reference materials available from NIST.  Electrochemically-synthesized HA allows us to control the percent metal introduced into the material, crystallinity, stoichiometry, and morphology compared the standard ground animal bone used currently.  Powder x-ray diffraction is used to determine the stoichiometry and morphology of the HA and compare it to bone.  Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry is used to determine and quantify multiple trace metals simultaneously in the HA and the bone specimen. Optimum laser ablation conditions for the reference material and the bone were found in order to provide accurate quantitative data and avoid matrix effects associated with direct solid sampling. Quantifilier DNA kits were tested with metallic contamination measured by ICP-MS.