The researchers from the University of Silesia are co-authors of the solution applied in computed tomography and micro computed tomography, which makes it possible to obtain a more precise image of the structure of a particular object. The method has been patented.
Thanks to computed tomography and micro computed tomography it is possible to obtain a three-dimensional image of the structure of an analysed object. However, it sometimes happens that plant or animal organisms, which are of researchers’ interest, have too delicate structure to be scanned precisely by means of X-ray imaging. Some fragments are too thin to absorb the sufficient amount of the stream of radiation. Small objects made of light materials, such as soft tissues or sponge’s body undergo, for example, the process of lyophilisation before the examination, which means that they are in so-called dry state. In such a case we cannot use a contrasting solution, which is used, e.g., during computed tomography of human soft tissues, because too delicate structure of some living organisms might be damaged. Therefore, the researchers from the University of Silesia decided to develop the method of biological material preparation that would enable imaging of such delicate fragments of organisms without their damage.
‘In order to achieve a satisfactory result, we cover the examined fragment with a thin layer of aluminium or other metal, preferably precious metal (gold, silver or platinum). The thickness of the sprayed layer depends on the type of analysed structure. In this way, by scanning once again the material of our interest we receive a precise image of all its elements, including delicate structures, such as soft tissues’ – explains Assoc. Prof. Andrzej Woźnica from the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection at the University of Silesia, co-author of the patented method.
The search for this method was inspired by the study of the structure of freshwater sponges spongilla lacustris – primitive water animals living in colonies and characterised by diverse asymmetric shapes. These are organisms we still know little about and there are mechanisms of their functioning that still remain undiscovered. In order to know them better the team of biologists from the University of Silesia decided to reproduce the internal structure of the sponges in the form of three-dimensional image, among others, by means of computed tomography and micro computed tomography. ‘Thanks to the patented method this image is more precise. This opens up new opportunities for describing other mechanisms, which could then find application in everyday life, e.g. in biotechnology’ – explains the biologist.
This research is described in the article entitled „Co masz w środku, gąbko?” [“What’s inside the sponge?”] published in Gazeta Uniwersytecka [Univesity Newspaper] 10 (240) July-September 2016, available on the webpage: www.gazeta.us.edu.pl
The authors of “The method of preparation of the object made of low X-ray absorption material for X-ray examination” are the researchers from the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection: Assoc. Prof. Andrzej Woźnica, Dr Jagna Karcz and Jerzy Karczewski MSc. The solution has been developed in cooperation with Dr Marcin Binkowski.