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Imaging of trace elements and isotopes in biological samples

Elements are not homogenously distributed throughout tissues and show also on the cellular level distinct distribution patterns. The same is also applicable to organic molecules whether they are proteins or metabolites. Bio-imaging involves the determination of the elemental or molecular distribution pattern. Combining information of elemental and molecular distribution from neighbouring thin-sections with histological information allows correlation between pathology, proteins/metabolites and metal concentrations. Bio-imaging using laser ablation-ICP-MS can show the inhomogeneity of the element distribution and may also give clues as toward disease mechanisms.

For example imaging of fungal infected tissue showed that iron and copper distribution changes due to infection and also showed that the host tries to combat the infection by changes in the copper metabolism. Whereas in case of bacterial infection the main change noticed was a significant increase of calcium in the infected area accompanied by a decrease of all essential elements.

Dynamic Bioimaging

Bio-imaging can also be used in certain cases to determine the isotope distribution in tissue and thereby help to understand the metabolism / kinetic of an element. Bio-imaging of tissue sections obtained from feeding experiments with enriched stable isotopes conserve the metabolic turnover of the element(s).


Group Leader

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Chem. Dr.rer.nat. PhD

Jörg Feldmann

Institut für Chemie

Institut für Chemie

Phone:+43 316 380 - 5301


Elisabeth Jenewein-Fleischer (morning) Claudia Fritz (afternoon)

Institut für Chemie

Phone:+43 (0)316 380 - +43 316 380 - 5300

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