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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-07-01 - 2018-02-28

Metabolomics (and 13C based metabolic flux) data generated by GC/MS is complimentary to LC/MS data and exhibits characteristics that require additional consideration when mapping changes in pathways. Nevertheless, targeting intermediates of the important pentose-phosphate pathway, gas chromatographic separation and mass spectrometric detection of the involved isomers remains the gold standard. In addition together with fit-for-purpose derivatization methods, GC/MS provides unrevealed coverage of metabolites over a wide polarity range. The typical 70 eV EI spectral data generated by GC/MS includes significant fragmentation of the analyte, which complicates the ability to trace incorporation of stable isotope labels of the intact molecule. While there are academic software packages available for this purpose, they are not adapted for commercial users. Further, traditional 70 eV EI spectra is generated on nominal mass resolution mass spectrometers, reducing selectivity and analytical confidence, particularly for assessment of structural information of fragments of derivatized metabolites. Agilent's forthcoming GC/Q-TOF platform includes a low-energy EI source, which allows for the relative preservation of analyte ions (i.e., metabolite molecular ions), which has the potential to greatly simplify stable isotope tracing through the metabolic pathway compared to traditional GC/MS techniques. Further, the high mass resolution and accurate mass measurement performance of the GC/Q-TOF significantly increases selectivity in complex biological matrices and improves identity confirmation of fragment ions for increased metabolite identification capabilities and confidence. An additional benefit of the low energy source in connection with collision induced dissociation functionality is the possiblity of assessing positional information of the 13C atoms incorporated into the metabolites of interest allowing elucidation of critical branching points in metabolic networks. In this project, we propose to investigate the use of Agilent's forthcoming GC/Q-TOF platform in MFA, with an emphasis on low-energy ionization for preservation of molecular ions in aiding isotope tracing. Further, this work will serve as a proof-of-concept and early stage development in extending the existing VistaFlux software to support GC/Q-TOF data in providing a comprehensive LC/MS and GC/MS qualitative fluxomics solution.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2016-09-01 - 2018-11-30

The project concerns the sampling as well as elemental trace and ultra-trace analysis of higher mineralized ground waters in selected geological units of Austria. Geologische Bundesanstalt Austria is responsible for selection of sampling sites, whereas the BMLFUW is involved regarding coordination and data documentation. Project results will be embedded into the current “GeoHint-Update 2015”, aiming at the actualization of background values of Austrian ground water bodies in accordance to the EU Water Framework Directive together with Austrian legislation. In addition to contract research the project contains a development part for the design and application of pre-concentration methods for accurate analysis of the technology critical elements Silver, Gold, Palladium and Platinum.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2016-07-01 - 2018-03-31

This citizen science project "IsoPROTECT: protection of regional food production in Austria by isotopic and multielement fingerprints" is an extension of the Sparkling Science project CSI: TRACE your FOOD! performed by the VIRIS Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences. The primary objective of the project is the systematic expansion of the data set for creating a isotope Map of Austria, which serves to guarantee of the origin of regionally produced food from Austria. In addition, developed as part of the CSI project - an online statistical allocation tool is optimized. For the sustainability of the network, the transfer of the project is planned in a non-profit association "Friends of regional food production in Austria". Main producers of local food products, schools and all interested citizens are invited to become Citizen Scientists to register on a web platform, to collect samples and information in the context of "crowdsourcing". The aim is to provide good coverage of regions in Austria with important food production. All necessary materials, instructions and tools for cooperation, such as an ArcGIS Online environment in which the data obtained can be submitted from the Citizen Scientists and are made available by the VIRIS laboratory. Information on the project will be distributed via local networks and social networks in the form of flyers, videos, live webinars, on initial existing and sent out to registered Citizen Scientists on Newsletters.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations