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The bioreactivity of the sub-10 μm component of volcanic ash: Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat

Jones, Timothy Peter and Berube, Kelly Ann 2011. The bioreactivity of the sub-10 μm component of volcanic ash: Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat. Journal of Hazardous Materials 194 , pp. 128-134. 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2011.07.092

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With the recent eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyafallajökull and resulting ash cloud over much of Europe there was considerable concern about possible respiratory hazards. Volcanic ash can contain minerals that are known human respiratory health hazards such as cristobalite. Short-term ash exposures can cause skin sores, respiratory and ocular irritations and exacerbation of pre-existing lung conditions such as asthma. Long-term occupational level exposures to crystalline silicon dioxide can cause lung inflammation, oedema, fibrosis and cancer. The potential health effects would be dependent on factors including mineralogy, surface chemistry, size, and levels and duration of exposure. Bulk ash from the Soufrière Hills volcano was sourced and inhalable (<2.5μm) ash samples prepared and physicochemically characterised. The fine ash samples were tested for bioreactivity by SDS-PAGE which determined the strength of binding between mineral grains and lung proteins. Selected proteins bound tightly to cristobalite, and bound loosely to other ash components. A positive correlation was seen between the amount of SiO2 in the sample and the strength of the binding. The strength of binding is a function of the mineral’s bioreactivity, and therefore, a potential geo-biomarker of respiratory risk.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1873-3336
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2022 07:19

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