Tony Davies continues his quest to find out what you all need to work more efficiently. You will remember that in the last issue, Tony introduced his survey to discover what developments were needed in spectroscopy by readers. Some of the initial responses are explored, and Tony finds that he has opened a “can of worms”.
Dmitry Gakamsky and Anna Gakamsky describe how fluorescence may be used to diagnose cataracts in human eye lenses. Further, it may also be able to grade cataracts and monitor the disease’s progress, which may help discover metabolic and ambient factors that influence the progress of the disease.
The CAL(AI)2DOSCOPE (Cryogenic Absorption/Luminescence Alignment Independent Alternative Intermittent Detection Optical µSCOPE) is a microspectrometer that was constructed with the aim to facilitate the correlated investigation of absorption and fluorescence emission properties of nanovolumic protein samples under modulatable actinic illumination.
Whilst the major components of food are usually non-fluorescent, many minor food components that affect its nutritive, compositional and technological quality are fluorescent. Given its sensitivity, ease of use and non-destructive nature, this makes it useful in many applications around monitoring food processing and in fundamental food research.
“Optical spectroscopy in therapy response monitoring: an awakening giant” by Arja Kullaa, Surya Singh, Jopi Mikkonen and Arto Koistinen looks at the important advances made by optical spectroscopy techniques, such as diffuse optical spectroscopic imaging (DOSI), Raman, diffuse reflectance and fluorescence spectroscopy, in changing how cancer is managed in patients. The ability to repeatedly monitor tumour dynamics to see how effective a particular treatment has been has enormous potential for us all.
The “Application of Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopy for identification of uranium minerals in the environment” is described by Eric Faulques, Florian Massuyeau, Nataliya Kalashnyk and Dale Perry. Uranium forms a large number of compounds and complexes, and these are most helpful in the study of uranium, its chemistry and transport in the environment. Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopy provide complementary information and are powerful tools for direct speciation of uranium and identification of natural uranyl minerals relevant to the environment.
Orthogonal spectroscopic techniques for the early developability assessment of therapeutic protein candidates” are described by Patrick Garidel, Anne Karow and Michaela Blech. Due to its cost and time implications, in the early development phase of drug discovery the use of othogonal techniques, based on different physical observables, is important for correct decision-making.
Praveen Ashok and Kishan Dholakia of St Andrews University, UK, describe the scope of optofluidic devices that can be implemented using the waveguide confined Raman spectroscopy (WCRS) technique they have developed. I am particularly impressed by the sample size of whisky shown in Figure 2—true Scottish style!
In the pharmaceutical industry, biologicals are of increasing interest due to their high therapeutic benefits. Amongst many other questions, the stability of new canditates is of great importance. Patrick Garidel describes this in “Right angle light scattering protein thermostability screening: from research to development”. The ability of this and other fluorescence-based techniques to detect very small quantities is of great benefit.
Continuing the series of articles on spectroscopy, we return principally to the UV-visible area of the spectrum, but this time to the science of luminescence (fluorescence and phosphorimetry), in all its many forms. Given the diversity of the application areas and instrument types available, in such an article we can only briefly give an overview of the topic and interested parties are, therefore, recommended to follow-up the listed references for more in-depth discussion on the points raised.
For the past two centuries, the nature of the varnishes coating historical instruments has been a much debated subject. Focusing in particular on the varnishes used for coating violins made by the Italian instrument-maker Antonio Stradivari, numerous hypotheses have been raised by instrument-makers, experts, musicians and chemists, without reaching a general understanding of the ancient varnishing techniques. A few years ago, we decided to work on this topic using several complementary approaches for materials characterisation and study of historical sources (ancient varnish recipes, etc.).
Over the last two decades therapeutic antibodies have become the fastest growing area in pharmaceutical biotechnology. The medical significance of these therapeutic entities is highlighted by the commercial availability of about 20 products on the market with more than 160 candidates evaluated in different clinical trials. One reason for the success of antibodies as therapeutic agents is related to the large advancement in their biotechnological production via fermentation. Nowadays titers of about 4 g L–1 in 11-day fed-batch mode using the CHO BI HEX process are achievable using CHO-cells (CHO: chinese hamster ovary).
Jens Petter Wold
MATFORSK, Norwegian Food Research Institute, Osloveien 1, 1430 Ås, Norway