Scanning Microscopy


Although transmission X-ray microanalysis of biological material has traditionally been carried out mainly on sectioned preparations, a number of alternative procedures exist. These are considered under three major headings - whole cell preparations, analysis of cell homogenates and biological fluids, and applications of the technique to microsamples of purified biochemicals. These three aspects provide a continuous range of investigative level - from the cellular to the molecular.

The use of X-ray microanalysis with whole cell preparations is considered in reference to eukaryote (animal) cells and prokaryotes - where it has particular potential in environmental studies on bacteria. In the case of cell homogenates and biological fluids, the technique has been used mainly with microdroplets of animal material. The use of X-ray microanalysis with purified biochemicals is considered in relation to both particulate and non-particulate samples. In the latter category, the application of this technique for analysis of thin films of metalloprotein is particularly emphasised.

It is concluded that wider use could be made of the range of preparative techniques available - both within a particular investigation, and in diverse fields of study. Transmission X-ray microanalysis has implications for environmental, physiological and molecular biology as well as cell biology.

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