Significant correlations were found between the amount of copper and lead found in washed wool from sheep and in local streams. Median copper concentration in North Ronaldsay wool was comparatively high despite lower soil concentrations. Shetland sheep appeared to accumulate more lead than Swaledale sheep. Another significant observation related to the sex of the sheep – values for wool concentration of both lead and copper were significantly higher in male sheep, which has been linked to the effect of androgens on metabolism.
Dr Sneddon comments, "Sheep wool evidently has potential as a bio-indicator of naturally occurring heavy metal concentrations in upland areas, which have previously not been assessed in this way". Future studies are planned to assess how the age of the sheep, and where on the animal the wool is taken from, influence results. Furthermore, it is intended to use samples provided by the British Wool Marketing Board in order to provide regional and national focus to this work. In addition, it is hoped that sheep can be of future use in bio-remediation studies on brownfield sites.
Experimental method: A handful of wool was taken from shoulder area of rare and heritage breeds of sheep grazing on hills in the Lake District and North Wales. The wool was then washed to ensure that only metabolised deposits of heavy metals were detected, rather than anything that had stuck to the outside of the wool. Copper and lead concentrations were then determined using highly sensitive equipment which can accurately detect very small quantities of heavy metals. This was compared with data from local streams for accuracy.
Gillian Dugan | EurekAlert!
Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
German scientists question study about plastic-eating caterpillars
15.09.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
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