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More Rapid Detection of Strontium in Urine Samples (IN-10-037)

New and Improved Detection Method that Provides More Rapid and Accurate Identification of Sr-90 in Urine Samples

Argonne National Laboratory

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<em>The urine is treated with sulfonic acid and then mixed with charcoal to remove the interferents. The resultant is passed through the chromatographic columns and the eluate is counted by radiometric means.</em>
The urine is treated with sulfonic acid and then mixed with charcoal to remove the interferents. The resultant is passed through the chromatographic columns and the eluate is counted by radiometric means.

Technology Marketing Summary

Strontium-90 (Sr-90), a radioactive isotope, is a carcinogen that can be released into the atmosphere and human exposure can occur through nuclear weapons and accidents. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have created a new and improved detection method that provides more rapid and accurate identification of Sr-90 in urine samples.

Description

When released from dirty bombs, radioactive fallout, or a nuclear reactor accident, Sr-90 can be inhaled or penetrate the skin through beta radiation. However, the greatest health concern comes from consuming contaminated food and water. Chemically similar to calcium, strontium tends to migrate to human bone structures, replacing calcium and making its way into bones and teeth. Once in the body, Sr-90 is difficult to remove. Long-term accumulation can cause cancers of the bone, bone marrow, and tissues around the bone.

Currently, conventional strontium identification methods can process only about 10 to 20 samples per day. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is interested in developing a strontium detection method that will process 10,000 samples per day using multiple separation columns.

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have created an automated detection method that can accurately and inexpensively meet the CDC’s goal. Urine samples of as little as 5 mL are sufficient to provide an accurate strontium count.

With Argonne’s method, raw urine is treated with sulfonic acid and then mixed with charcoal to remove interferents such as pigments and organic molecules. Ready for processing, the clarified urine sample is passed through chromatographic columns and the eluate is counted by radiometric means. The resins used in this method are expected to be reusable up to 100 times after washing. This method greatly reduces the time required to condition samples and the amount of analyst time required in conditioning and performing elemental separations on the samples.

Benefits

The Argonne-developed process offers several advantages over conventional methods. It is faster and less costly, and can analyze significantly more samples. It conditions the samples in minutes and can be fully automated, reducing the need for an analyst, who would only be required to refill reagents and initially load and remove the samples. Importantly, this approach provides a final, small volume of solution suitable for radioanalytical counting using existing equipment at the CDC laboratories.

The technology also demonstrates the utility of miniaturizing separations schemes that permit dramatic reduction in analysis times. Miniaturization also permits the potential use of novel detection systems that can be cheaper and easier to operate. Such systems are thus portable and can then be brought into the field for direct measurements, potentially impacting analysis for environmental samples as well as medical diagnostics.

Applications and Industries
  • Strontium detection
  • Medical detection of radioisotopes, compounds, or proteins
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Application 20130017613
Application
20130017613
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR EXTRACTION OF STRONTIUM FROM URINE
The present invention provides an apparatus and rapid methods for extracting strontium ions from urine to provide a concentrated and purified strontium-90 extract suitable for scintillation measurements. The methods remove organic compounds, pigments, and alkali metal ions that can interfere with quantitative determination of strontium-90 in urine. A method of the invention comprises acidifying urine and removing organic pigments therefrom, loading a known quantity of so-treated urine onto a diphosphonic acid-based ion-exchange resin; flowing aqueous methanesulfonic acid through the diphosphonic acid-based ion-exchange resin to elute alkali metal ions therefrom; eluting strontium ions off of the diphosphonic acid-based resin and on to a strontium extraction chromatographic resin with a concentrated aqueous nitric acid solution; subsequently flowing water or a dilute acid stripping solution through the strontium extraction resin to strip the strontium from the strontium extraction resin; and collecting the strontium-containing stripping solution eluting from the strontium extraction resin.
07/14/2011
Filed
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
IN-10-037PrototypeAvailable01/29/201301/29/2013

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To: Elizabeth Jordan<partners@anl.gov>