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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Electron back scattered diffraction data of garnet crystals from the Nelson Aureole, British Columbia and the Mosher’s Island formation, Nova Scotia, reveals that 22 garnet crystals are all oriented with one of three crystal directions parallel to the trace of the foliation plane in thin section. Structural models suggest that these relationships are due to preferential garnet nucleation onto muscovite, with the alignment of repeating rows of Al octahedra and Si tetrahedra in each leading to inheritance of garnet orientation from the muscovite. These results highlight that epitaxial nucleation may be a prevalent process by which porphyroblast minerals nucleate during metamorphism and carry implications for the role that non-classic nucleation pathways play in the crystallization of metamorphic minerals, the distribution of porphyroblasts in metamorphic rocks, and, in cases in which nucleation is the rate limiting step for crystallization, the energetics of metamorphic reactions.
  4. Abstract Rapid and widespread testing of severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is essential for an effective public health response aimed at containing and mitigating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Successful health policy implementation relies on early identification of infected individuals and extensive contact tracing. However, rural communities, where resources for testing are sparse or simply absent, face distinctive challenges to achieving this success. Accordingly, we report the development of an academic, public land grant University laboratory-based detection assay for the identification of SARS-CoV-2 in samples from various clinical specimens that can be readily deployed in areas where access to testing is limited. The test, which is a quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR)-based procedure, was validated on samples provided by the state laboratory and submitted for FDA Emergency Use Authorization. Our test exhibits comparable sensitivity and exceeds specificity and inclusivity values compared to other molecular assays. Additionally, this test can be re-configured to meet supply chain shortages, modified for scale up demands, and is amenable to several clinical specimens. Test development also involved 3D engineering critical supplies and formulating a stable collection media that allowed samples to be transported for hours over a dispersed rural region withoutmore »the need for a cold-chain. These two elements that were critical when shortages impacted testing and when personnel needed to reach areas that were geographically isolated from the testing center. Overall, using a robust, easy-to-adapt methodology, we show that an academic laboratory can supplement COVID-19 testing needs and help local health departments assess and manage outbreaks. This additional testing capacity is particularly germane for smaller cities and rural regions that would otherwise be unable to meet the testing demand.« less
  5. Amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) is a metastable phase in the crystallization pathway of calcium phosphates. Understanding its chemical and structural properties could provide critical insights into biomineralization mechanisms. Of particular interest is the impact of the initial Ca/P on the structure of ACP. Further, the influence of Ca/P on the size, precipitate chemistry, and transformation of ACP is crucial to understanding the metastability of amorphous phosphates. In situ pair distribution function (PDF) analysis results 5 min after mixing show that the Ca–P bonding geometry varies from predominantly monodentate, to mixed monodentate and bidentate, to predominantly bidentate as Ca/P increases from 0.2 to 5.0. This relationship is consistent across a pH range of 6–11. Samples with only monodentate Ca–P geometries transform directly to hydroxylapatite, while samples some or all bidentate geometries form brushite. Regardless of the initial ratio, the Ca/P of precipitates is close to 1.0. In situ small-angle X-ray scattering shows particle size increases with increasing Ca/P. This is the first evidence of structural variations in ACP and is directly linked to system chemistry. Synthesis of ACP with monodentate Ca–P geometries is a promising method to control the crystallization pathway to form hydroxylapatite at circumneutral pH without stabilizing ions.
  6. Structural investigations of amorphous and nanocrystalline phases forming in solution are historically challenging. Few methods are capable of in situ atomic structural analysis and rigorous control of the system. A mixed-flow reactor (MFR) is used for total X-ray scattering experiments to examine the short- and long-range structure of phases in situ with pair distribution function (PDF) analysis. The adaptable experimental setup enables data collection for a range of different system chemistries, initial supersaturations and residence times. The age of the sample during analysis is controlled by adjusting the flow rate. Faster rates allow for younger samples to be examined, but if flow is too fast not enough data are acquired to average out excess signal noise. Slower flow rates form older samples, but at very slow speeds particles settle and block flow, clogging the system. Proper background collection and subtraction is critical for data optimization. Overall, this MFR method is an ideal scheme for analyzing the in situ structures of phases that form during crystal growth in solution. As a proof of concept, high-resolution total X-ray scattering data of amorphous and crystalline calcium phosphates and amorphous calcium carbonate were collected for PDF analysis.