EDS Quantitation and Application to Biology

  • T. A. Hall
  • B. L. Gupta

Abstract

The quantitative x-ray microanalysis of biological tissue sections differs from that of inorganic specimens strikingly in several ways:
  1. a)

    Measurements of local concentrations in biological tissue sections may be misleading because the elemental distributions may have been altered inadvertently during the preparation of the specimens — elements may have been largely lost, or displaced, during preparation.

     
  2. b)

    Even if a section as prepared is accepted as a proper object for measurement, the procedures available for measurements in thin organic specimens are subject to systematic errors arising from assumptions about section uniformity or from beam damage.

     
  3. c)

    A given procedure may produce a measurement of concentration which is technically correct but biologically irrelevant or ambiguous. For example, in a section stained with a heavy metal, the measurement of amount of element per kg of stained specimen is not in itself useful when much of the mass may consist of the metal stain. A less blatant example: For electrolyte elements which are not bound to organic matrix but are almost entirely “free” in aqueous solution in living tissue, the relevant concentration for the physiologist is millimoles of element per litre of water; if he simply measures mM of element per total mass of tissue, he may get quite different values for regions where there are actually identical values of mM of element per litre of water but different aqueous fractions (i.e. differing values for mass of water/total mass).

     
  4. d)

    Biological tissues are very variable. One must realize that there may be inhomogeneities within a tissue — gradients for example within the cytoplasm of a single cell; concentrations within an organism may vary with time or physiological condition; there will be differences between individuals of the same species.

     

Keywords

Organic Matrix Local Mass Continuum Method Continuum Signal Shrinkage Factor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. A. Hall
    • 1
  • B. L. Gupta
    • 1
  1. 1.Biological Microprobe Laboratory, Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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