• Internal current collection and thermofluidynamic enhancement in a microtubular SOFC

      Hodjati-Pugh, O; Dhir, A; Steinberger-Wilckens, R (Elsevier, 2021-04-05)
      A low-cost, durable and simple internal current collector is presented for microtubular SOFCs (µT-SOFC). The internal design does not require removal of external cell layers, and subsequent loss of active area required to expose the interior electrode for contacting. The brush-like, high surface area current collector device is adapted from heat exchanger turbuliser technology produced by CALGAVIN Ltd. The effectiveness of the hiTRAN® turbuliser as a µT-SOFC current collector is explored and its thermofluidynamic effects on the cell described, as well as coating of the hiTRAN® design to reduce electrical contact resistance. The final design achieved a current density at 0.7 V of 0.38 A.cm and peak power density of 0.27 W.cm , 4.3 times higher than the original design and 3.3 times higher than the state-of-the-art with the same base materials.
    • Internal current collection in microtubular SOFCs: Minimisation of contact resistance via brazing and plating

      Hodjati-Pugh, Oujen; Dhir, Aman; Steinberger-Wilckens, Robert (The Electrochemical Society, 2019-07-10)
      Microtubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (µ-SOFC) are aptly suited for powering devices with demands ranging from the order of mW to few kW. The rapid start-up time, high thermo-mechanical stability, and excellent power density by volume lend them favour over alternate configurations, particularly for portable applications (1). Interconnecting the micro-tubes, though, is a persistent issue and minimisation of conduction pathway lengths and their contribution to stack ohmic resistance is a key parameter for maximising overall performance from a tubular cell stack (2). Contacting of each electrode is most simply and typically achieved from the cell exterior at the expense of available active electrode area. Exposing the cell support, interior electrode (anode or cathode, depending on cell configuration) from the exterior can lead to fuel crossover, decreasing fuel utilisation and giving rise to accelerated degradation from local thermal ‘hot spots’ as a result of hydrogen combustion (3). In this paper a novel method of internal current collection is proposed to collect current from multiple points along the inner wall of an anode-supported tubular cell. The current collector will also act as a flow turbuliser, enhancing the flow and reducing thermal gradients within the fuel cell. Ensuring an intimate contact of the many current collection nodes to the anode and hence minimisation of contact resistance is achieved by use of brazing, depositing braze material via electroless plating. Interconnection proficiency has been studied using electrochemical performance testing, impedance spectroscopy, optical microscopy and mechanical testing.
    • International Comparison of Analytical Methods of Determining the Soil Organic Matter Content of Lithuanian Eutric Albeluvisols

      Jankauskas, Benediktas; Jankauskienė, Genovaitė; Slepetiene, Alvyra; Booth, Colin A.; Fullen, Michael A. (Taylor & Francis, 2006)
      Several soil organic matter (SOM) methodologies have been employed to analyze a suite of subsampled soils, and their results have been correlated. This will permit future comparison of the large archive of SOM databases, which widely exist in Lithuania and other Central and Eastern European countries, with those of other international countries. Samples were collected (n=92) from topsoil and subsoil horizons of Eutric Glassoboralfs (Eutric Albeluvisols) at five long‐term monitoring sites (three sites with 8 years' duration and two sites with 20 years' duration) containing a total of 46 experimental field plots. Each soil sample was subsampled and SOM determined by several analytical approaches (namely, dry combustion, Walkley–Black, Tyurin photometric, Tyurin titrimetric, and loss‐on‐ignition methods). Correlation coefficients between multiple sets of results varied between r=0.831 and r=0.965 (n=92, P<0.001). Based on the strength and significance of these relationships, we propose that simple linear regression equations can be confidently employed to recalculate SOM data among various analytical methodologies and thus help resolve the issue of international data comparison.
    • International Implications of Atmospheric Pollution on Stone

      Mitchell, David J. (Science Publishers Inc., 2003)
    • Interplay between contract and public law in Ghana: Implications for major construction contracts and transparency

      Mante, Joseph; Ndekugri, Issaka E. (Sweet and Maxwell, 2017-02-17)
      The relationship between infrastructure project owners and their contractors is generally governed by contract law. However, where the project owner is a State, there are often additional requirements from public law to be complied with. The challenges posed by the interplay between public law and private contractual relationships in such context have been highlighted by litigation concerning the effect of a constitutional requirement that any international business and economic transaction to which the Government of Ghana (GoG) is a party is not to become operational without parliamentary approval. Through analysis of five decisions of the Supreme Court of Ghana on the interpretation of this constitutional provision, this piece highlights the devastating consequences that inattention to public law could have on parties who contract with the GoG and its agencies. It also examines the extent to which the judicial interpretation of the constitutional requirement really furthers the interests of transparency and openness that it was intended to promote.
    • Interventionist versus expectant care for severe pre-eclampsia between 24 and 34 weeks' gestation

      Churchill, D; Duley, L; Thornton, JG; Moussa, M; Ali, HSM; Walker, KF; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, New Cross Hospital, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, UK, WV10 0QP. (Wiley, 2018-10-05)
      © 2018 The Cochrane Collaboration. Background: Severe pre-eclampsia can cause significant mortality and morbidity for both mother and child, particularly when it occurs remote from term, between 24 and 34 weeks' gestation. The only known cure for this disease is delivery. Some obstetricians advocate early delivery to ensure that the development of serious maternal complications, such as eclampsia (fits) and kidney failure are prevented. Others prefer a more expectant approach, delaying delivery in an attempt to reduce the mortality and morbidity for the child that is associated with being born too early. Objectives: To evaluate the comparative benefits and risks of a policy of early delivery by induction of labour or by caesarean section, after sufficient time has elapsed to administer corticosteroids, and allow them to take effect; with a policy of delaying delivery (expectant care) for women with severe pre-eclampsia between 24 and 34 weeks' gestation. Search methods: For this update, we searched Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth's Trials Register, ClinicalTrials.gov, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) on 27 November 2017, and reference lists of retrieved studies. Selection criteria: Randomised trials comparing the two intervention strategies for women with early onset, severe pre-eclampsia. Trials reported in an abstract were eligible for inclusion, as were cluster-trial designs. We excluded quasi-randomised trials. Data collection and analysis: Three review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion and risk of bias, extracted data, and checked them for accuracy. We assessed the quality of the evidence for specified outcomes using the GRADE approach. Main results: We included six trials, with a total of 748 women in this review. All trials included women in whom there was no overriding indication for immediate delivery in the fetal or maternal interest. Half of the trials were at low risk of bias for methods of randomisation and allocation concealment; and four trials were at low risk for selective reporting. For most other domains, risk of bias was unclear. There were insufficient data for reliable conclusions about the comparative effects on most outcomes for the mother. Two studies reported on maternal deaths; neither study reported any deaths (two studies; 320 women; low-quality evidence). It was uncertain whether interventionist care reduced eclampsia (risk ratio (RR) 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.06 to 15.58; two studies; 359 women) or pulmonary oedema (RR 0.45, 95% CI 0.07 to 3.00; two studies; 415 women), because the quality of the evidence for these outcomes was very low. Evidence from two studies suggested little or no clear difference between the interventionist and expectant care groups for HELLP (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets) syndrome (RR 1.09, 95% CI 0.62 to 1.91; two studies; 359 women; low-quality evidence). No study reported on stroke. With the addition of data from two studies for this update, there was now evidence to suggest that interventionist care probably made little or no difference to the incidence of caesarean section (average RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.12; six studies; 745 women; Heterogeneity: Tau2; = 0.01; I2; = 63%). For the baby, there was insufficient evidence to draw reliable conclusions about the effects on perinatal deaths (RR 1.11, 95% CI 0.62 to 1.99; three studies; 343 women; low-quality evidence). Babies whose mothers had been allocated to the interventionist group had more intraventricular haemorrhage (RR 1.94, 95% CI 1.15 to 3.29; two studies; 537 women; moderate-quality evidence), more respiratory distress caused by hyaline membrane disease (RR 2.30, 95% CI 1.39 to 3.81; two studies; 133 women), required more ventilation (RR 1.50, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.02; two studies; 300 women), and were more likely to have a lower gestation at birth (mean difference (MD) -9.91 days, 95% CI -16.37 to -3.45 days; four studies; 425 women; Heterogeneity: Tau2; = 31.74; I2; = 76%). However, babies whose mothers had been allocated to the interventionist group were no more likely to be admitted to neonatal intensive care (average RR 1.19, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.60; three studies; 400 infants; Heterogeneity: Tau2; = 0.05; I2; = 84%). Babies born to mothers in the interventionist groups were more likely to have a longer stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (MD 7.38 days, 95% CI -0.45 to 15.20 days; three studies; 400 women; Heterogeneity: Tau2; = 40.93, I2; = 85%) and were less likely to be small-for-gestational age (RR 0.38, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.61; three studies; 400 women). There were no clear differences between the two strategies for any other outcomes. Authors' conclusions: This review suggested that an expectant approach to the management of women with severe early onset pre-eclampsia may be associated with decreased morbidity for the baby. However, this evidence was based on data from only six trials. Further large, high-quality trials are needed to confirm or refute these findings, and establish if this approach is safe for the mother.
    • Intracellular Target-Specific Accretion of Cell Penetrating Peptides and Bioportides: Ultrastructural and Biological Correlates

      Jones, Sarah; Uusna, Julia; Langel, Ülo; Howl, John; Research Institute in Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY, United Kingdom; Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu, Estonia; Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu, Estonia; Research Institute in Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY, United Kingdom (American Chemical Society, 2015-12-14)
      Cell penetrating peptide (CPP) technologies provide a viable strategy to regulate the activities of intracellular proteins that may be intractable to other biological agents. In particular, the cationic helical domains of proteins have proven to be a reliable source of proteomimetic bioportides, CPPs that modulate the activities of intracellular proteins. In this study we have employed live cell imaging confocal microscopy to determine the precise intracellular distribution of a chemically diverse set of CPPs and bioportides. Our findings indicate that, following efficient cellular entry, peptides are usually accreted at intracellular sites rather than being freely maintained in an aqueous cytosolic environment. The binding of CPPs to proteins in a relatively stable manner provides a molecular explanation for our findings. By extension, it is probable that many bioportides influence biological processes through a dominant-negative influence upon discrete protein–protein interactions. As an example, we report that bioportides derived from the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 discretely influence the biology and stability of this key therapeutic target in Parkinson’s disease. The intracellular site-specific accretion of CPPs and bioportides can also be readily modulated by the attachment of larger cargoes or, more conveniently, short homing motifs. We conclude that site-specific intracellular targeting could be further exploited to expand the scope of CPP technologies.
    • Intratympanic corticosteroids in Ménière's disease: A mini-review

      Patel, Mitesh (Elsevier, 2017-06-26)
      This article reviews the effectiveness of intratympanic corticosteroids for vertigo control in Ménière's disease at 2-years follow-up according to the guidelines expressed by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Despite the increased use of intratympanic corticosteroids for vertigo control in Ménière's disease there is debate as to their effectiveness, particularly compared to gentamicin. Even so, after just a single course of injections, corticosteroids can reliably provide complete vertigo control (Class A) at 2-years in about 50% of cases as indicated in a recent double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial (Patel et al., 2016). But the effectiveness of intratympanic corticosteroids truly increases when treatment is provided ‘as-needed’, whereby complete vertigo control is established in up to 91% of cases. On the basis of available literature, there is good evidence to recommend the use of intratympanic steroid treatment for vertigo control in Ménière's disease, but patients must be monitored for non-response. The rationale for treating patients as-needed and the possible reasons for corticosteroid non-response are discussed.
    • Intratympanic methylprednisolone versus gentamicin in patients with unilateral Ménière's disease: a randomised, double-blind, comparative effectiveness trial

      Patel, Mitesh; Agarwal, Kiran; Arshad, Qadeer; Hariri, Mohamed; Rea, Peter; Seemungal, Barry M; Golding, John F; Harcourt, Jonny P; Bronstein, Adolfo M. (Elsevier, 2016-11-16)
      Background Ménière’s disease is characterised by severe vertigo attacks and hearing loss. Intratympanic gentamicin,the standard treatment for refractory Ménière’s disease, reduces vertigo, but damages vestibular function and can worsen hearing. We aimed to assess whether intratympanic administration of the corticosteroid methylprednisolone reduces vertigo compared with gentamicin. Methods In this double-blind comparative effectiveness trial, patients aged 18–70 years with refractory unilateral Ménière’s disease were enrolled at Charing Cross Hospital (London, UK) and Leicester Royal Infirmary (Leicester, UK). Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) by a block design to two intratympanic methylprednisolone(62·5 mg/mL) or gentamicin (40 mg/mL) injections given 2 weeks apart, and were followed up for 2 years. All investigators and patients were masked to treatment allocation. The primary outcome was vertigo frequency over the final 6 months (18–24 months after injection) compared with the 6 months before the first injection. Analyses were done in the intention-to-treat population, and then per protocol. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00802529. Findings Between June 19, 2009, and April 15, 2013, 256 patients with Ménière’s disease were screened, 60 of whom were enrolled and randomly assigned: 30 to gentamicin and 30 to methylprednisolone. In the intention-to-treat analysis (ie, all 60 patients), the mean number of vertigo attacks in the final 6 months compared with the 6 months before the first injection (primary outcome) decreased from 19·9 (SD 16·7) to 2·5 (5·8) in the gentamicin group (87% reduction) and from 16·4 (12·5) to 1·6 (3·4) in the methylprednisolone group (90% reduction; mean difference –0·9,95% CI –3·4 to 1·6). Patients whose vertigo did not improve after injection (ie, non-responders) after being assessed by an unmasked clinician were eligible for additional injections given by a masked clinician (eight patients in the gentamicin group vs 15 in the methylprednisolone group). Two non-responders switched from methylprednisolone to gentamicin. Both drugs were well tolerated with no safety concerns. Six patients reported one adverse event each: three in the gentamicin group and three in the methylprednisolone group. The most common adverse event was minor ear infections, which was experienced by one patient in the gentamicin group and two in the methylprednisolone group. Interpretation Methylprednisolone injections are a non-ablative, effective treatment for refractory Ménière’s disease. The choice between methylprednisolone and gentamicin should be made based on clinical knowledge and patient circumstances.
    • The introduction of brownfield land registers in England

      Charlson, Jennifer (Routledge, 2020-12-13)
      This review examines recent planning policy and legislation regarding the regeneration of brownfield land in England. The study is centred on housing and England’s West Midlands region with a focus on the Black Country. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduced provisions to grant permission in principle for housing-led development in England and mandated the assembly of brownfield planning registers. The Brownfield Land Register Regulations 2017 requirements and their implementation is explored. The review concludes that of almost 18,000 brownfield sites have been mapped and capacity for 1.3 million homes on 21,000 sites covering 25,000 hectares has been identified on brownfield registers.
    • Invasive species: Review risks before eradicating toads

      Mecke, Sven; Kieckbusch, Max; Schuster, Ka; Ernst, Raffael; O'Shea, Mark; Rödel, Mark-Oliver; Köhler, Gunther; Grillitsch, Heinz; Köhler, Jörn; Haas, Alexander; et al. (Nature Publishing, 2014-07-30)
    • Investigating future pharmacists' understanding of vaccines and myths surrounding vaccination

      Zahid, Sidrah; Morrissey, Hana; Ball, Patrick (Innovare Academic Sciences, 2020-09-18)
      Objective: The United Kingdom has lost its measles, mumps and rubella free status due to a decline in vaccination uptake. There are several beliefs such as safety concern and media influence that discourage people from having vaccinations. To identify gaps in knowledge of vaccination within 3rd year pharmacy students, and to observe whether they can spot myths about vaccines, in particular the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Methods: A questionnaire-based approach was used after gaining ethical approval which included a range of open and closed questions. Results: None of the participants could identify the six common myths reported by the World Health Organisation and 40% failed to accurately identify the type of vaccine of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. There were clear gaps in knowledge on vaccines in participants particularly from black, Asian and minority ethnic group participants compared to white students. Educating participants about the myths could have positive future implications on their scientific knowledge when they work as pharmacists. Conclusion: Many students did not accurately identify the myths surrounding vaccines and were provided informative leaflets to enhance their scientific knowledge. The gaps in knowledge identified, demonstrates that further teaching sessions should be implemented to cover the grey areas, allowing them to appropriately recommend vaccinations in the future.
    • Investigating the cost of offsite construction housing in Western Australia

      Sutrisna, M; Cooper-Cooke, B; Goulding, J; Ezcan, V (Emerald, 2019-02-04)
      © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: Offsite construction approaches and methodologies have been proffered a potential solution for controlling “traditional” projects, especially where high levels of complexity and uncertainty exist. Given this, locations such as Western Australia (WA), where there are unique housing provision challenges, offsite construction method was considered a potential solution for not only addressing the complexity/uncertainty challenges but also alleviating the housing shortage. However, whilst acknowledging the benefits of offsite construction, recognition was also noted on perceived barriers to its implementation, primarily relating to cost uncertainty. This recognition is exacerbated by very limited offsite construction cost data and information available in the public domain. In response to this, this paper sims to provide detailed cost analysis of three offsite construction projects in WA. Design/methodology/approach: To hold parameters constant and facilitate cross-case comparative analysis, data were collected from three embedded case studies from three residential housing projects in WA. These projects represent the most contemporary implementation of offsite in WA; where two were completed in 2016/2017 and the third project was still ongoing during the data collection of this research. The research methodological approach and accompanying data analysis component engaged a variety of techniques, which was supported by archival study of project data and evidence gathered from the offsite construction provider. Findings: Core findings revealed three emerging themes from residential offsite construction projects pertinent to cost. Specifically, the overall cost of delivering residential housing project with offsite construction techniques, the cost variability of offsite construction residential housing projects as impacted by uncertainties and the cash flow of residential offsite construction projects based on the payment term. These three major cost drivers are elucidated in this paper. Originality/value: This research presents new cost insights to complement the wider adoption of offsite construction techniques. It presents additional information to address the limited cost data and information of offsite construction projects available in the public domain particularly for residential housing projects (within the bounded context of WA). It also highlights the further stages needed to enhance data validity, cognisant of universal generalisability and repeatability, market maturity and stakeholder supply chains.
    • Investigating the Impact of Cyber-Attack on Load Profile of Home Energy Management System

      Anuebunwa, U; Rajamani, HS; Pillai, P; Okpako, O (Springer International Publishing, 2018-01-01)
      © 2018, ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering. Load profile for a household is key to understanding and applying automated load scheduling executed by the Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS). The provision of securing this basic domestic information as well as preventing intruders from being able to accessing and modifying them should be a matter of high priority. Any malicious attack on this data will have serious impact on the performance of the load scheduling algorithms. This paper is an investigation of how the scheduled load profile of a household can be deformed due to false data injection on the original load profile as a result of cyber-attack on the HEMS. Various incremental false data levels are introduced during an optimization process and the corresponding effect on the overall scheduled load profile is evaluated to understand the actual impact of the cyber-attack. Results show that as noise attack level increases, the optimized load profile shrinks and approaches a straight line which is equivalent to the average value of the original load profile. The implication of having such a load profile as a schedule is the obvious excessive disruption of a household’s energy use which results to having appliances switched ON or OFF at highly undesired times of the day thereby exacerbating user inconvenience.
    • Investigating the Impacts of Cyber-Attacks on Pricing Data of Home Energy Management Systems in Demand Response Programs

      Anuebunwa, UR; Rajamani, HS; Abd-Alhameed, R; Pillai, P (IEEE, 2018-12-24)
      © 2018 IEEE. Provision of security involves protecting lives and properties, and properties in this context include data and services. This paper investigates the impact of cyber-attacks on load scheduling applications by simulating various possible modes for these attacks while observing possible effects on the users. The attack modes used are in the form of denial of service (DoS) and phishing attacks whereby the attacker is able to interfere with data intake to the Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) or a modification of critical data to the HEMS. The dynamic pricing information and load profile data is the target here although other types of data utilized by the central controller for load scheduling purposes can also be targeted. The test-bed uses load scheduling applications based on genetic algorithm optimization. Results show the impact on optimized load profiles and how they can discourage active demand response participation if such attacks are not properly managed.
    • Investigating the influence of associated risks, rewards, and external intervention on homeownership in Hong Kong, China

      Oladinrin, Timo Olugbenga; Soyinka, Oluwole Abayomi; Wadu Mesthrige, Jayantha (Taylor & Francis, 2021-08-10)
      Homeownership approach differs across the global south and north. Several factors influence the decision to own a house, and the impact varies in the different economy. Housing stakeholders struggle with balancing the aspiration to own a house within the pressured market based on diverse factors associated with such choices. This study provides a comprehensive empirical investigation of the factors influencing homeownership in Hong Kong from three broad categories of associated risks, rewards, and external intervention factors. Literature review evidence identifes seven associated-risk, eight rewards, and seven external intervention factors as the basis of the variance based, partial least square structural equation model (V PLS-SEM) analysis of the study. A case study methodology with 502 valid responses was analyzed using mean item score (MIS), standard deviation (SD) and V-PLS-SEM. The result shows that the observed factors have a significant positive influence at 1.000 threshold level and have substantial predictive power and influence on homeownership. This study, therefore, recommends the integration of empirical factor analysis with other strategies for homeownership decision and policy statements to guide homeownership issues in Hong Kong. The approach adopted is useful for individuals, organizations, academicians, facilities managers, and policymakers to implement homeownership strategies.
    • Investigating the knowledge about health

      Narinder Menghre and Subashini Suresh; School of Technology, University of Wolverhampton (COBRA, 2013-09-10)
      The employment of migrants in the UK construction industry is growing annually particularly in the West Midlands. A research commissioned by the Institution of Civil Engineers investigated welfare and health and safety (H&S) of migrant workers in the South East of England. This research investigates the West Midland based North-Indian migrants’ awareness of issues related to health and safety on a construction site, as there seems to be no empirical evidence of any study carried out in H&S in other parts of England. A qualitative research approach was adopted with ten semi-structured interviews lasting an average of 25 minutes. Thematic analysis has been carried out on data acquired from interviews. The study revealed that migrants are employed in both skilled and unskilled jobs. They are often exploited for the fact that they have low English language skills. They have low health and safety knowledge and are paid significantly below the UK National Minimum Wage. This paper highlights to the industry and academia key aspects of safety awareness by immigrant workers in West Midlands. Further research is necessary to understand in a comprehensive way the situation faced by the migrants in order to implement specific measures.
    • Investigating the Postmortem Molecular Biology of Cartilage and its Potential Forensic Applications

      Bolton, Shawna N.; Whitehead, Michael P.; Dudhia, Jayesh; Baldwin, Timothy C.; Sutton, Raul (2015-05-31)
      This study investigated the postmortem molecular changes that articular cartilage undergoes following burial. Fresh pig trotters were interred in 30-cm-deep graves at two distinct locations exhibiting dissimilar soil environments for up to 42 days. Extracts of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) and metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint cartilage from trotters disinterred weekly over 6 weeks were analyzed by Western blot against the monoclonal antibody 2-B-6 to assess aggrecan degradation. In both soil conditions, aggrecan degradation by-products of decreasing molecular size and complexity were observed up to 21 days postmortem. Degradation products were undetected after this time and coincided with MCP/MTP joint exposure to the soil environment. These results show that cartilage proteoglycans undergo an ordered molecular breakdown, the analysis of which may have forensic applications. This model may prove useful for use as a human model and for forensic investigations concerning crimes against animals and the mortality of endangered species.
    • Investigating the Postmortem Molecular Biology of Cartilage and its Potential Forensic Applications

      Bolton, Shawna N.; Whitehead, Michael P.; Dudhia, Jayesh; Baldwin, Timothy C.; Sutton, Raul; Faculty of Science and Engineering; University of Wolverhampton; Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton WV1 1LY U.K; Faculty of Science and Engineering; University of Wolverhampton; Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton WV1 1LY U.K; Department of Clinical Sciences and Services; The Royal Veterinary College; Hawkshead Lane North Mymms Hatfield Hertfordshire AL9 7TA U.K; Faculty of Science and Engineering; University of Wolverhampton; Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton WV1 1LY U.K; Faculty of Science and Engineering; University of Wolverhampton; Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton WV1 1LY U.K (Wiley, 2015-07)
      This study investigated the postmortem molecular changes that articular cartilage undergoes following burial. Fresh pig trotters were interred in 30-cm-deep graves at two distinct locations exhibiting dissimilar soil environments for up to 42 days. Extracts of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) and metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint cartilage from trotters disinterred weekly over 6 weeks were analyzed by Western blot against the monoclonal antibody 2-B-6 to assess aggrecan degradation. In both soil conditions, aggrecan degradation by-products of decreasing molecular size and complexity were observed up to 21 days postmortem. Degradation products were undetected after this time and coincided with MCP/MTP joint exposure to the soil environment. These results show that cartilage proteoglycans undergo an ordered molecular breakdown, the analysis of which may have forensic applications. This model may prove useful for use as a human model and for forensic investigations concerning crimes against animals and the mortality of endangered species.