Chemistry Research

Chemistry professor Dr. Bill Luttrell, with the help of OC science students, conducts research every summer. Below is an overview of one of the studies.

Silver Dihydrogen Citrate: Pre-Clinical Toxicity Screening Studies

Since there is an urgent need for the identification of microbicides, our hope is that silver dihydrogen citrate (SDC) can be shown to be worthy of clinical study for prevention of HIV transmission. This is of particular importance because clinical trials for one of the few remaining potential microbiocides were halted in Africa and India recently due to safety concerns. The experimental focus of our research program has been in the evaluation of the toxicology of SDC. Using two different genetic toxicology assays, we have shown no evidence that SDC is genotoxic. The in vivo micronuclei assay in mice and the in vitro Ames assay have given negative results. We are also completing two pivotal hepatic toxicology assays for a range of concentrations of SDC. The specific purpose of this part of our research project is to assess the effect of SDC on liver metabolic enzymes. An in vitro assay for evaluating carboxylesterase activity in guinea pig liver microsomes has shown no inhibition of enzyme activity at very low concentrations of SDC. Currently, we are working on a second in vitro assay for evaluating aniline hydroxylase activity in guinea pig liver microsomes. Completion of these enzyme kinetic studies will help demonstrate that SDC is worthy as a potential microbiocide. In collaboration with our toxicology studies, Dr. Al Mikell of the Biology Department has conducted antimicrobial studies with SDC, showing its efficacy as a potential microbicide.

Research student recording data on the Atomic Absorption instrument                        

Research student recording data on the flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer.