Recent Submissions

  • Distinguishing dune environments based on topsoil characteristics: a case study on the Sefton Coast

    Millington, Jennifer A.; Booth, Colin A.; Fullen, Michael A.; Trueman, Ian C.; Worsley, Annie T. (Coastal Defence: Sefton MBC Technical Services Department, 2010)
    It is important to understand the effects of coastal change on the migration of coastal dune environments and their associated imprint on soil processes, for both environmental and ecological motives. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have been applied to investigate soil spatial patterns and their controlling influences on the Sefton dunes. To verify relationships between plant communities and soil types, groundtruthing of existing vegetation maps has been achieved through analysis of representative, geo-referenced, topsoil (0-5 cm) samples (n = 115), fromclassified dune environments (n = 10), for the purpose of distinguishing dune environments from their soil characteristics. Samples were analysed for pH, organic matter content, particle size, total soil organic carbon and total soil nitrogen, geochemical composition and magnetic susceptibility. Significant differences (p <0.05) are apparent for the suite of soil characteristics collated, indicating individual dune environments are associated with specific soil properties. Therefore, identification and mapping of dune soil habitats can provide baseline information for conservation management.
  • Remediation of oil spills using zeolites

    Fullen, Michael A.; Kelay, Asha; Williams, Craig D. (2011)
    Current research is testing the hypothesis that zeolites can efficiently and cost effectively adsorb oil spills. To date, this aspect of zeolites science has received little attention. A series of five Master of Science (M.Sc.) Projects at the University of Wolverhampton have shown that the zeolite clinoptilolite can effectively adsorb oil. Various sand-clinoptilolite mixes were tested in replicated laboratory analyses in terms of their ability to adsorb engine oil. Adsorption increased with clinoptilolite amount. The relationship between percentage clinoptilolite and oil adsorption was asymptotic. Thus, on a cost-effective basis, a 20% clinoptilolite: 80% sand mix seems the most costeffective mix. However, a particularly exciting finding was that it was possible to burn the oil-sand-zeolite mix and reuse the ignited mix for further oil adsorption. Experiments are ongoing, but to date the ignition and adsorption cycle has been repeated, on a replicated basis, seven times. Still, the ignited mix adsorbs significantly more oil than the sand control. Initial results suggest that the temperature of ignition is critical, as high temperatures can destroy the crystal and micro-pore structure of zeolites. Thus, low temperature ignition (~400oC) seems to allow the retention of structural integrity. Similar results were obtained using the zeolite chabazite and experiments are in progress on phillipsite, which is the third major zeolite mineral. If the hypotheses can be proven, there are potentially immense benefits. Sand-zeolite mixtures could be used to effectively adsorb terrestrial oil spills (i.e. at oil refinery plants, road accidents, beach spills from oil tankers and spills at petrol stations) and thus remediate oil-contaminated soils. The contaminated mix could be ignited and, given the appropriate infrastructure, the energy emission of combustion could be used as a source for electrical power. Then, the ignited mix could be reused in subsequent oil spills. This offers enormous potential for an environmentally-friendly sustainable ‘green’ technology. It would also represent intelligent use of zeolite resources. On a global scale, including Europe, clinoptilolite is the most common and inexpensive zeolite resource.
  • Utilization of Palm-mat Geotextiles to Conserve Agricultural Soils.

    Bhattacharyya, Ranjan; Davies, Kathleen; Fullen, Michael A.; Booth, Colin A. (International Erosion Control Association (IECA), 2009)
    Previously, most studies on the effectiveness of geotextiles on soil erosion rates and processes were conducted in laboratory experiments for <1 h. Hence, at Hilton (52o33' N, 2o19' W), East Shropshire, UK, we investigated the effectiveness of employing palm-mat geotextiles (Borassus and Buriti mats) to reduce rainsplash erosion, runoff and soil loss under field conditions. This study is a component of the European Union-funded BORASSUS Project. The effects of Borassus mats on rainsplash erosion were studied for ~2 years (2002-2004), and re-established in January 2007 on a 0o slope. There were 12 experimental plots (six plots completely-covered with mats and six bare plots; each measuring 1.0 x 1.0 m). Runoff-plot studies were also conducted on the loamy sand soil at Hilton for 2 years (2002-2004) with duplicate treatments: (i) bare soil; (ii) grassed, (iii) bare soil with 1 m Borassus-mat buffer zones at the lower end of the plots and (iv) completely-covered with Borassus-mats. Each plot was 10 x 1 m on a 15o (26.6%) slope. To confirm the results, another set of experiments have been in progress at Hilton since January 2007, with one additional treatment (bare soil with 1 m Buriti-mat buffer zones) compared with the earlier experiment. Runoff and soil erosion were collected from each plot in a concrete gutter, leading to a 0.02 m3 (20 liters) capacity receptacle placed inside a 0.14 m3 (140 liters) capacity container. Results (06/10/02-02/09/04; total precipitation = 1038.3 mm) showed Borassus mats on bare soil reduced total rainsplash erosion by ~50% compared with bare plots (9.64 kg m-2; 1.97 lb ft-2). The use of Borassus mats on bare soil (during 01/22/07-01/21/08; total precipitation = 919.2 mm) also reduced soil splash erosion by ~90%. During 03/25/02-05/10/04 (total precipitation = 1319.8 mm) complete cover of Borassus mats on bare soil reduced total runoff by ~19% and soil erosion by ~64%. Furthermore, Borassus mats as 1 m buffer strips on bare soil reduced runoff by ~36% and soil erosion by ~57%. During 01/08/07-01/14/08 (total precipitation = 923.4 mm), plots with Borassus and Buriti mats as buffer strips on bare soil reduced sediment yield by ~93 and 98%, respectively, and runoff by ~83 and 63%, respectively. Buffer strips of Borassus mats were also as effective as complete cover of the same mats. Thus, utilization of palm-mat geotextiles as buffer strips on bare plots (area coverage ~10%) is highly effective for soil and water conservation.
  • Effects of Palm-mat Geotextiles on the Conservation of Loamy Sand Soils in East Shropshire, UK

    Bhattacharyya, Ranjan; Davies, Kathleen; Fullen, Michael A.; Booth, Colin A. (2008)
    Some 30% of world arable land has become unproductive, largely due to soil erosion. Considerable efforts have been devoted to studying and controlling water erosion. However, there remains the need for efficient, environmentallyfriendly and economically-viable options. An innovative approach has used geotextiles constructed from Borassus aethiopum (Black Rhun Palm of West Africa) leaves to decrease soil erosion. The effectiveness of employing palmmats to reduce soil erosion have been investigated by measuring runoff, soil loss and soil splash on humid temperate soils. Twelve experimental soil plots (each measuring 1.0 x 1.0 m) were established at Hilton, east Shropshire, UK, to study the effects of geotextiles on splash erosion (six plots completely covered with Borassus mats and six non-protected bare soil plots). Soil splash was measured (10/06/02-09/02/04; total precipitation = 1038 mm) by collecting splashed particles in a centrally positioned trap in each plot. An additional field study (25/03/02-10/05/04; total precipitation = 1320 mm) of eight experimental runoff plots (10 x 1 m on a 15o slope) were used at the same site, with duplicate treatments: (i) bare soil; (ii) grassed, (iii) bare soil with 1 m palm-mat buffer zones at the lower end of the plots and (iv) completely covered with palm-mats. Runoff volume and sediment yield were measured after each substantial storm. Results indicate that total splash erosion in bare plots was 34.2 g m-2 and mean splash height was 20.5 cm. The use of Borassus mats on bare soil significantly (P<0.05) reduced soil splash height by ~31% and splash erosion by ~50%. Total runoff from bare plots was 3.58 L m-2 and total sediment yield was 8.58 g m-2. Thus, application of geotextiles as 1 m protective buffer strips on bare soil reduced runoff by ~36% and soil erosion by ~57%. Although total soil loss from the completely covered geotextile plots was ~16% less than the buffer zone plots, total runoff volume from the completely covered plots was ~94% more than the buffer zone plots. Thus, palm-mat (buffer strips) cover on vulnerable segments of the landscape is highly effective for soil and water conservation on temperate loamy sand soils.
  • Soil conservation using palm-mat geotextiles on loamy sand soils in the United Kingdom

    Bhattacharyya, Ranjan; Davies, Kathleen; Fullen, Michael A.; Booth, Colin A. (University of Wolverhampton in association with International Soil Conservation Organization, 2008)
    Geotextile-mats constructed from Borassus aethiopum (Borassus Palm) and Mauritia flexuosa (Buriti Palm) leaves have the potential to decrease soil erosion. In the U.K., field experiments are being conducted on the effectiveness of palm-mats to reduce soil erosion at Hilton, east Shropshire. Twelve plots (each plot measuring 1.0 x 1.0 m; 6 plots were completely covered with Borassus mats, and the other 6 plots were bare) were established to study the effects of geotextile-mats on splash erosion. Eight runoff plots (10 x 1 m on a 15o slope) were used, with duplicate treatments: (i) bare soil; (ii) grassed, (iii) bare soil with 1 m Borassus-mat buffer zones and (iv) completely covered with Borassus mats. Runoff volume and sediment yield were measured after each substantial storm from 25/03/02-10/05/04 (total precipitation = 1320 mm). Results indicate that palm-mats on bare soil significantly reduced total soil splash erosion by ~50% compared with bare soil (34.2 g m-2; during 10/06/02-09/02/04, total precipitation = 1038 mm). Total runoff from bare plots was 3.58 litres m-2 and total sediment yield was 8.58 g m-2. Borassus mats as buffer strips reduced runoff by ~36% and soil erosion by ~57%. Total soil loss from the completely covered plots was only ~16% less than the buffer zone plots. To confirm the results, another set of runoff experiments are in progress at Hilton, with one additional treatment (bare soil with 1 m Buriti-mat buffer zones) compared with the earlier experiment. Results (08/01/07-24/08/07; total precipitation = 702 mm) indicate that total runoff from bare plots was 21.2 litres m-2 and total sediment yield was 2302 g m-2. Borassus and Buriti mats as 1 m buffer strips reduced runoff by ~86 and 61%, respectively, and soil erosion by ~93 and 98%, respectively. Buffer strips of Borassus mats are as effective as complete cover of the same mats and are more effective in reducing runoff water than the buffer strips of Buriti mats. Combined results from both sets of runoff experiments (total precipitation = 2022 mm) suggest that application of Borassus mats as 1 m protective buffer strips on bare soil reduced runoff by ~77% and soil erosion by ~93%. Thus, Borassus-mat (buffer strips) cover on vulnerable segments of the soilscape is highly effective for soil and water conservation on temperate loamy sand soils.
  • The effect of substrate on the reproducibility of inked fingerprint pore dimensions examined using photomicrography.

    Gupta, Abhishek; Buckley, K.A.; Sutton, Raul (The Fingerprint Society, 2007)
    Requests for back issues or copies of articles should be made to The Archivist at The Fingerprint Society.
  • Chemistry for the Life Sciences

    Sutton, Raul; Rockett, Bernard; Swindells, Peter G. (CRC Press (Taylor & Francis), 2008)
    Focuses on the particular aspects of chemistry that underpin biochemical and biomedical studies • Includes new chapters on emerging topics of interest • Offers a sequence of short topics with numerical or conceptual ideas supported by worked examples and questions within the text • Provides a solutions manual for qualified instructors Presents short topics tied to numerical or conceptual ideas, reinforced with worked examples and questions Retaining theuser-friendly style of the first edition, this text is designed to fill the knowledge gap for those life sciences students who have not studied chemistry at an advanced level. It contains new chapters on – • Water, covering the mole concept and colloids • Gases, discussing pressure, gas laws, partial pressure, solubility of gases, and diffusion • Metals in biology, including properties, oxygen carriers, biocatalysis, charge carriers, and toxicity The authors divide their analysis of carbon compounds into two chapters. One focuses exclusively on aliphatic carbon compounds, while the other provides a greatly expanded exploration of aromatic carbon compounds, isomerism, amines and amino acids, including benzene, aromaticity, types of isomerism, and absolute configuration. With a current examination of organic and biological reactions, this instructional volume also features end-of-chapter questions and a solutions manual.
  • Latent fingermark pore area reproducibility

    Gupta, A.; Buckley, K.; Sutton, R. (2013-06-28)
  • Integration of multimedia technology into the curriculum of forensic science courses using crime scene investigations.

    Sutton, Raul; Hammerton, Matthew; Trueman, Keith J. (2007)
    Virtual reality technology is a powerful tool for the development of experimental learning in practical situations. Creation of software packages with some element of virtual learning allows educators to broaden the available experience of students beyond the scope that a standard curriculum provides. This teaching methodology is widely used in the delivery of medical education with many surgical techniques being practised via virtual reality technologies (see Engum et al., 2003). Use has been made of this technology for a wide range of teaching applications such as virtual field trials for an environmental science course (Ramasundaram et al., 2005), and community nursing visiting education scenarios (Nelson et al., 2005) for example. Nelson et al. (2005) imaged three-dimensional representations of patient living accommodation incorporating views of patient medication in order to deliver care modules via a problem-based learning approach. The use of virtual reality in the teaching of crime scene science was pioneered by the National Institute of Forensic Science in Australia as part of their Science Proficiency Advisory Committee testing programme. A number of scenarios were created using CDROM interfacing, allowing as near as possible normal procedures to be adopted. This package included proficiency testing integrated into the package and serves as a paradigm for the creation of virtual reality crime scene scenarios (Horswell, 2000). The package is commercially available on CD-ROM as part of the series ‘After the Fact’ ( The CD-ROM package is geared to proficiency training of serving scenes of crime officers and thus contains details that may not be needed in the education of other parties with a need for forensic awareness. These include undergraduate students studying towards forensic science degree programmes in the UK as well as serving Police Officers. These groups may need virtual reality crime scene material geared to their specific knowledge requirements. In addition, Prof J Fraser, President of the Forensic Science Society and a former police Scientific Support Manager, speaking to the United Kingdom, House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee in its report ‘Forensic Science on Trial’ (2005) states: ‘The documented evidence in relation to police knowledge of forensic science, in terms of making the best use of forensic science, is consistently clear, that their knowledge needs to improve and therefore their training needs to improve’. This clearly identifies a need for further training of serving police officers in forensic science. It was with this in mind that staff at the University collaborated with the West Midlands Police Service. The aim was to create a virtual reality CD-ROM that could serve as part of the continuing professional development of serving police officers in the area of scene management. Adaptation of the CD-ROM could allow some introductory materials to help undergraduate students of forensic science.
  • The Forensic Institute Research Network.

    Sutton, Raul; Jamieson, Allan J. (York: Physical Sciences Centre, The Higher Education Academy, 2008)
    The burgeoning activity in forensic science in universities continues to attract criticism. A positive aspect is the potential to inject a much-needed boost to research in all forensic practices. Only recently has fingerprinting, for example, been exposed to rigorous scientific examination and, to a great extent, been found wanting as regards its science – probability apparently has no place in fingermark examination. In response to the opportunity The Forensic Institute brought together representatives from more than 40 UK universities to discuss how this new resource, academics and students, could be used to further research in the forensic sciences. It was envisaged that many casework-related problems, such as environmental frequencies of trace evidence, could be best accomplished by a lot of small student projects coordinated on a national and perhaps international level by a steering group. This steering group in turn would be part of an integrated research strategy developed in conjunction with practitioners. A virtuous cycle of practice, research, development, and practice would be the outcome. And so, in 2004, The Forensic Institute Research Network (FIRN) was born.
  • Identification and biological applications of rhegnylogically-organized cell penetrating peptides.

    Howl, John D.; Jones, Sarah (Australian Peptide Association, 2007)
    Introduction: Many different cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) have been utilized as vectors to affect the highly efficient intracellular delivery of bioactive moieties. A majority of such studies employ sychnologically-organized tandem combinations of a cargo (message) and a CPP (address). To date, bioactive cargoes have included peptides, proteins and a range of oligonucleotides attached either by direct chemical conjugation or as a component of a larger macromolecular complex. Moreover, a majority of CPPs, including the commonly used sequences Tat and penetratin, are designed to be both biologically and toxicologically inert. More recently, a QSAR-based algorithm has been developed to predict cryptic polycationic CPP motifs within the primary sequences of proteins. As described here, this novel technology has enabled the study of rhegnylogic CPPs in which multiple pharmacophores for cellular penetration and desirable biological activities are discontinuously organized within the primary sequence of single peptide. This organization differs from the more commonly utilized sychnologic strategy which joins functionally discrete and continous address and messages together in a tandem construct.
  • Mitoparans: mitochondriotoxic cell penetrating peptides and novel inducers of apoptosis.

    Jones, Sarah; Martel, Cecile; Belzacq-Casagrande, Anne-Sophie; Brenner, Catherine; Howl, John D. (Australian Peptide Association, 2007)
    Introduction: The amphipathic helical peptide mastoparan (MP; H-INLKALAALAKKIL-NH2) inserts into biological membranes to modulate the activity of heterotrimeric G proteins and other targets. Moreover, whilst cell free models of apoptosis demonstrate MP to facilitate mitochondrial permeability transition and release of apoptogenic cytochrome c, MP-induced death of intact cells has been attributed to its non-specific membrane destabilising properties (necrotic mechanisms). However, MP and related peptides are known to activate other signalling systems, including p42/p44 MAP kinases and could therefore, also modulate cell fate and specific apoptotic events. The ability of MP to facilitate mitochondrial permeability in cell free systems has lead to proposals that MP could be of utility in tumour therapeutics provided that it conferred features of cellular penetration and mitochondrial localization. We have recently reported that our highly potent amphipathic MP analogue mitoparan (mitP; [Lys5,8Aib10]MP; Aib = -aminoisobutyric acid) specifically promotes apoptosis of human cancer cells, as was confirmed by in situ TUNEL staining and activation of caspase-3. Moreover, we have also demonstrated that mitP penetrates plasma membranes and redistributes to co-localize with mitochondria. Complementary studies, using isolated mitochondria, further demonstrated that mitP, through co-operation with a protein of the permeability transition pore complex voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), induced swelling and permeabilization of mitochondria, leading to the release of the apoptogenic factor cytochrome c. An expanding field of peptide and cell penetrating peptide (CPP) research has focussed on the selective targeting of tumours by engineering constructs that incorporate cell-specific or tissue–specific address motifs. Peptidyl address motifs could enhance the selectivity of drug delivery whilst the improved cellular uptake offered by CPP enhances bioavailability. Thus and as a potential therapeutic strategy, we extended our findings to design target-specific mitP analogues. The integrin-specific address motif RGD and a Fas ligand mimetic WEWT were incorporated by N-terminal acylation of mitP to produce novel tandem-linked chimeric peptides.
  • Bovine enterovirus as an oncolytic virus: foetal calf serum facilitates its infection of human cells.

    Smyth, M; Symonds, A; Brazinova, S; Martin, J; Molecular Structure Solutions, MA Block, Wolverhampton, UK. (2002-07)
    Many viruses have been investigated for their oncolytic properties and potential use as therapeutic agents for cancer treatment. Most of these replication-competent viruses are human pathogens. We investigated the oncolytic properties of an animal virus which is non pathogenic for both its natural host and humans. Bovine enterovirus has previously been shown to exhibit a very wide tissue tropism for cell types in vitro. We compare the ability of bovine enterovirus to replicate in and to cause cytopathic effect in freshly isolated human monocytes and monocyte derived macrophages with the monocyte-like U937 tumour cell line. We also include the adherent ZR-75-1 human breast cancer cell line. We have also carried out infections of bovine enterovirus in the presence and in the absence of serum of bovine origin. Our study shows that the virus will replicate in and produce cytopathic effect in the U937 and ZR-75-1 cell types to the same extent as the cells (BHK-21) in which the virus is routinely propagated. We believe bovine enterovirus to be a worthwhile candidate for further study as an anti-tumour agent.
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, DNA Repair and Cancer

    Dibra, Harpreet K.; Perry, Chris J.; Nicholl, Iain D. (InTech, 2011)
  • Hydrophobins: New prospects for biotechnology

    Cox, P.W.; Hooley, P. (2013-06-28)