Microchimica Acta

, Volume 155, Issue 1–2, pp 95–100

Assessment of Inorganic Fibre Burden in Biological Samples by Scanning Electron Microscopy – Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy

  • Elena Belluso
  • Donata Bellis
  • Elisa Fornero
  • Silvana Capella
  • Giovanni Ferraris
  • Sergio Coverlizza
Original Paper

Abstract.

A protocol to detect inorganic fibres in samples of biological tissues by SEM–EDS is proposed. The sample (500 mg in the case of lung tissue) is digested by NaClO, filtered using a sample holder and fixed onto a SEM stub by clarification. A total of 800 microscopic fields (MF) at 2000× are scanned along 5 parallel strips of the filter preparation at regular intervals for a total area of 1.85 mm2, representing 0.7% of the total accessible area. In order to test the method and to show that the investigation of animals (sentinel animals) instead of human tissues can provide information on the lung burden of inorganic fibres, the data obtained from a control group I (animals which lived in an environment free of fibre-bearing rocks) consisting of 12 cattle and a test group II (animals which lived in alpine valleys with serpentine outcrops) consisting of 6 cattle and 6 wild animals are compared. As expected, group I shows by far a lesser burden than group II. The proposed SEM–EDS method is a first attempt to standardize SEM–EDS investigations of inorganic particles in biological tissues and is shown to provide results able to significantly discriminate the lung burden between populations even when subjected to non natural environmental exposure alone.

Key words: Burden of inorganic fibres; inorganic fibres in biological samples; protocol for SEM–EDS investigation; sentinel animals. 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Belluso
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Donata Bellis
    • 2
    • 3
  • Elisa Fornero
    • 1
    • 3
  • Silvana Capella
    • 1
    • 3
  • Giovanni Ferraris
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Sergio Coverlizza
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Mineralogiche e PetrologicheUniversità degli Studi di TorinoTorinoItaly
  2. 2.Servizio di Anatomia, Istologia Patologica e Citodiagnostica, Azienda Ospedaliera San Giovanni BoscoASL 4-TorinoItaly
  3. 3.Centro Interdipartimentale per lo Studio degli Amianti e di altri Particolati Nocivi “Giovanni Scansetti”, Università degli Studi di TorinoTorinoItaly
  4. 4.CNR-IGG, Sezione di TorinoItaly

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