Biochemistry and Toxicology
Leader: Dr. Alba Hykollari
The chemistry laboratory provides a broad range of chemical and biochemical analysis services to support in-house research projects and external scientific requests. Our responsibilities include:
- Purification of proteins/enzymes and measurements of enzyme activities: A number of proteins/enzymes are purified from a variety of animal tissues or organs and quantified by Western blot or ELISA and the activities are measured via kinetic assays to investigate their variation under different physiological conditions in animals.
- Fatty acid analyses: Fatty acids from animal tissues and foods are determined by gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Special attention is paid to those in phospholipids which make up cell membranes.
- Nutrient analyses: The total contents of proteins, lipids, ashes, fibers, etc. in foods and fecal samples are analyzed by using Weender analysis or near-infrared spectroscopy. These analyses enable us to judge how effectively animals can utilize their foods.
- Residue analyses: The chemistry lab often receives animal specimens (tissue, blood, urine, feces, etc) and powdery substances (foods, feeds) which need to be examined for pesticides, heavy metals, and other environmentally hazardous chemicals. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, thin-layer chromatography, atomic absorption spectrometry, etc. are employed to monitor these substances.
- Analyses of volatile organic compounds: Odorous or volatile compounds released from various biological fluids are determined and identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Special attention is paid to chemical signals involved in animals´olfactory communication.