The studies implemented in Directorate of R&D Projects Branch are focused on material research which are important in nuclear applications such as; ionizing radiation detectors and dosimeters including researches on low dose dosimetry, biodosimetry, accident dosimetry, alanine dosimetry and neutron dosimetry. Also, the detection of irradiated foodstuffs containing cellulose (EN 1787: Accredited), sugar (EN 13708) and bone (EN 1786) is achieved in this unit.

The activities of the Division are performed in the following laboratories:

  • Materials Research and Characterization Laboratory
  • Dosimetry Laboratory
  • Experimental Irradiation Laboratory
  • Microscopy Laboratory
  • Neutron Studies Laboratory
  • Radiation Detection Systems Laboratory
  • Polymer Molding Laboratory

Materials Research and Characterization Laboratories

There are five sub-laboratories within the Materials Research and Characterization Laboratories.

  1. Materials Research and Fabrication Laboratory
  2. Thermal Analysis Laboratory
  3. X-Ray Powder Diffraction (XRD) Laboratory
  4. Mechanical Testing and Hardness Measurement Laboratory
  5. Electrical Resistance Measurement Laboratory

1.Materials Research and Fabrication Laboratory:

In this laboratory, researches focused on the synthesis and fabrication of novel detector materials, such as nanocomposite scintillators and transparent ceramic scintillators, which are used for the detection of ionizing radiation. In these studies, below listed instruments and equipments are being used.

  • Braun Unilab SP Glove Box
  • Protherm PTF 14/105/450 Reduction Furnace (25ºC-1400ºC)
  • Protherm MOS 180/4 High Temperature Furnace (25ºC-1800ºC)
  • Retsch PM 100 Laboratory Ball Mill
  • Struers Secatom-10 Micro Cutter and LaboPol-5 Polisher

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Braun Unilab SP Glove Box

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Protherm PTF 14/105/450 ReductionFurnace and Protherm MOS 180/4 High Temperature Furnace

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Struers Secatom-10 Micro Cutter and Struers LaboPol-5 Polisher

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Retsch PM 100 Laboratory Ball-Mill

 2.Thermal Analysis Laboratory:

In this laboratory, thermal properties of materials as a function of temperature is characterized using the below listed instruments. Thermal analysis methods enable the determination of changes in weight as a function of temperature, phase transition and glass transition temperatures, melting and sublimation temperatures, reaction kinetics and thermal stability.

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TA Instruments SDTQ600 Thermal Analyzer (25ºC -1500ºC)

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Seiko Exstar 6000 SII Thermal Analyzer (25ºC -1500ºC)

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Retsch PM 100 Laboratory Ball-Mill

3.X-Ray Powder Diffraction (XRD) Laboratory:

In this laboratory, structural analysis of the polycrystalline materials is performed with Bruker D8 Advance X-ray diffractometer. With this device, which has a copper target X-ray tube, crystal structure analysis along with phase identification can be carried out in the temperature range of -180°C to +1600°C.

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X-Ray Diffractometer 

 4.Mechanical Testing and Hardness Measurement Laboratory :

In this laboratory, mechanical properties of the materials are characterized using Instron-1011 mechanical tester with a load capacity of 5 kN and Struers Duramin-500 universal hardness tester. Duramin-500 universal hardness tester is suitable for Brinell, Vickers and Rockwell harness testing. This laboratory is also equipped with Mahr Perthometer S2 model surface roughness tester and ATM GMBH Brillant 265 automatic cut-off machine.

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Instron-1011 mechanical tester

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Struers Duramin-500 universal hardness tester

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Mahr Perthometer S2 surface roughness tester

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Brillant 265 automatic cut-off machine

5.Electrical Resistance Measurement Laboratory:

The Cryostat system is used to determine the electrical properties of the materials. Current-Voltage (I-V), Resistance-Temperature (R-T) characteristics can be obtained for metal, semiconductor, superconducting materials (especially which have low resistance at room temperature) frow liquid nitrogen temperature up to room temperature.

Dosimetry Laboratory

  • The measurement of absorbed dose between 10 Gy and 100 kGy (accuracy 2-3%) and development of dosimetric material
  • Research on various organic and inorganic materials in means of accident dosimetry and biodosimetry
  • Preparation of EPR/alanine dosimeters
  • Calibration of routine dosimeters (PMMA dosimeters)
  • Dose mapping
  • Detection of irradiated foodstuffs
  • Dating of geological, archaeological and anthropological samples

STANDARDS FOR HIGH-DOSE DOSIMETRY

  • ISO/ASTM 51607-04 -Standard Practice For Use of The Alanine /EPR Dosimetry System
  • ISO/ASTM 51261:2002-Guide For Selection And Calibration of Dosimetry Systems For Radiation Processing,
  • ISO/ASTM 51707:2005-Guide For Estimating Uncertainties In Dosimetry For Radiation Processing,
  • E1026-04E1-Standard Practice for Using the Fricke Reference-Standard Dosimetry System.

STANDARDS FOR IRRADIATED FOODSTUFFS

  • EN 1787:2005 –Detection of Irradiated Food Containing Cellulose by EPR Spectroscopy (The EPR dosimetry laboratory was accredited on EN 1787:2005 method by TURKAK).
  • EN 13708:2001-Foodstuffs-Detection of Irradiated Food Containing Crystalline Sugar By EPR Spectroscopy.
  • EN 1786:1998 –Detection of Irradiated Food Containing Bone –Method by EPR Spectroscopy.
  • EN 1788:2007 – Detection of Irradiated Food from Which Silicate Minerals Can Be Isolated- Method by Thermoluminescence.

These laboratories are equipped with the following instruments;

  • Toledo 650 TL reader
  • Harshaw 3500 TL reader
  • Riso Model DA-20 TL/OSL reader
  • Bruker EMX model X-Band ESR spectrometer
  • Bruker E-Scan model EPR spectrometer

 

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Harshaw 3500 TL Reader

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Riso Model DA-20 TL/OSL Reader

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Bruker EMX model X-Band ESR Spectrometer

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 Bruker E-scan model EPR Spectrometer

 

Experimental Irradiation Laboratory

Experimental Irradiation Laboratory with fully automated Co60 gamma ray source (with the dose rate of 1.5 kGy/h approx, as of  December 2017) irradiates the samples sent by researchers from inside and outside the center like universities, research centers and private sectors in Turkey, as well.

 

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Overview of Co-60 Experimental Gamma Irradiation Device

Irradiation can be carried out at three different dose rates with an experimental irradiation device with a maximum activity of 12000Ci. By keeping the source constant during irradiation and rotating the sample basket, the dose distribution is homogenously obtained.

 

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Sample basket

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Irradiation Cell

Microscopy Laboratory

In this laboratory there is a field emission gun type SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) system with X500.000 magnification capability. The SEM is also equipped with an EDS system which is capable of identifying the elements from B to U both qualitatively and quantitatively.

 

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JEOL 7000F FEG type Scanning Electron Microscope

Neutron Studies Laboratory

In the Neutron Studies Laboratory (NSL), there are two Am241/Be neutron sources with the activities of 3 x 592 GBq (3x16 Ci) and 740 GBq (20 Ci), respectively. The studies are mainly on the investigation of neutron irradiation behavior of various shielding materials and potential of detector materials as neutron detectors sent by researchers from inside and outside the center like universities, research centers and private sectors in Turkey.

 

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Gamma Spectrometer in NSL Lab.

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3x592 GBq Am-241/Be neutron irradiation cell

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740 GBq Am-241/Be neutron irradiation system

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Underground view of 740 GBq Am-241/Be neutron irradiation system

 

Radiation Detection Systems Laboratory

Research and development studies of designs and prototypes of gas-based detector systems are carried out in the Radiation Detection Systems Laboratory. Primarily, the development of the Geiger Müller (GM) tube and detector system is planned. The main purpose of this study is to produce the tubes of the monitors which are produced in our institution and which use the GM tube by means of local facilities. The GM tube, as is known; With the design and the changes made to the gas used, alpha, beta, gamma and X-rays can be detected. In addition, these types of tubes have the adaptability feature for measuring neutrons.

 

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GM Tube NEB 211 Model Handheld Monitor manufactured in the Head of Technology Development, Turkey

Polymer Molding Laboratory

Various methods for organic scintillator production are studied in Polymer Molding Laboratory. Main subject is polimerization of styrene monomer in order to produce scintillator detectors for Radiation Surveilance Systems (RIS) used in Customs. Laboratory has closed polimerization system consisting of purifiying, boiling and molding stations.

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Polymer Molding Lab.

In Directorate of R&D Projects Branch research activities in accelerator, fusion and plasma fields are being carried out in accordance with the determined strategies. The related developments in the world about these subjects are being followed closely and it is aimed to contribute to these fields especially by playing a leading role in the studies carried out in the country. Within the scope of plasma and fusion studies, small fusion reactors are being designed by considering the existing devices in the world and manufactured with local capabilities. While in field of accelerators, studies are performed on particle accelerator technologies, which have become one of the most important technologies of present time, with the aim of designing accelerator and beamline, determination of beam characteristics, development of knowledge and personnel infrastructure. These studies are carried out in three different laboratories; Fusion Laboratory, Plasma Technology Laboratory and Accelerator Technology Laboratory.

One of the ongoing projects in this unit is on the magnetic confinement cylindrical fusion reactor construction and neutron studies. The activities can be outlined as follows. The cathode and coil designs to be used at the ion source exit were simulated by CST MWS (Computer Simulation Technology Microwave Studio) software within the scope of simulation studies for a magnetic confinement cylindrical reactor that can be used as a neutron source for R&D purposes.  Based on the simulations performed for various cathode dimensions, it was decided to construct the cylindrical cathode with a length of 20 cm and a diameter of 10 cm. The cathode was manufactured at the Head of RATD’s mechanical workshop. Additionally, further simulations were carried out for the deuterium ion sources, to be added to the reactor to increase the ion concentration in the vacuum chamber. As the result of different designs considered, the most efficient ion concentration was obtained by the use of a coil at the exit of the ion sources. In this design, almost all of the ions were focused by the coil and provided to reach the center of the vacuum chamber. The simulation results are shown in the figure below.

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Trajectory of the ions focused by the coil at the exit of the ion source

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Ion distribution along the z-axis of the vacuum  chamber, in the two ion source systems

The ion sources and coils were manufactured and assembled to the reactor. Simulation works were done with MCNP (Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport Code) computer program for the shielding. As a result of the simulation studies, it was decided to use water as a moderator material in terms of both economic and practical use. It was found that; the use of a 45 cm thick water layer was sufficient for shielding purposes. Then plexiglass sheets were ordered and following the delivery, a plexiglass pool was built in the workshops of the Head of RATD. The constructed plexiglass pool, filled by water and is shown in the photo below.

 

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Plexiglass water pool.

 

ELECTRON ACCELERATOR FACILITY

This facility is an electron beam flue gas treatment (EBFGT) pilot plant with an ICT type, 500 keV, 20 mA, dc electron accelerator. A collaborative study with İzmit Refinery of Turkish Petroleum Refineries, has been completed as of year 2012. In this study; heavy fuel-oil (with 3.5% Sulphur content) burnup resulted NOx and SOx in flue gas; have been reduced as 99% and 80% respectively. This is the first and only pilot plant study in the world; in terms of its irradiation chamber type and scrubbing technique (wet scrubbing). Now the system has been equipped and adopted for municipal waste water treatment studies via electron beam which is planned to be started in the mid of year, 2018.

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A View from TAEA-TÜPRAŞ, EBFGT Pilot Plant

The Directorate of R&D Projects Branch leads the way in spreading the use of nuclear techniques in food, and agriculture fields in our country through the research development projects. The activities covers the use of food irradiation to produce reliable and high quality foods for consumers and detection of irradiated foods by using international identification standards in market. It is aimed to spread the use of isotopic measurement techniques (IRMS or ICP-MS; C13/C12, O18/O16 etc.) for food authentication, traceability and fraud detection in national market. The Branch applies stable isotopes and radioisotopes techniques in plant breeding, agricultural irrigation, soil and plant nutrition area for the effective use of water and fertilizers. New superior plant varieties with high yield and nutrient capacity and especially resistant to drought and salinity to changing environmental conditions are improved by mutation breeding methods. Determination of resistance or tolerance of mutants against to disease/insects is important in mutation breeding studies.

 

Food irradiation technology is a technology developed to preserve the food quality, provide the hygiene and extend the shelf life. This technology is a physical food preservation method like  pasteurization, canning and freezing. The Branch carries out research on the use of food irradiation technology in the food industry, detection of irradiated foods by international detection methods, use of nuclear analytical techniques in food safety, traceability and fraud detection. In addition, food producers and exporters, universities, research institutes, authorities responsible for legal regulation and public are informed and education and counselling service are performed.

The Branch carries out its activities in the following laboratories:

-Food Chemistry Laboratory

-Food Microbiology Laboratory

-Detection of Irradiated Foods

FOOD CHEMISTRY LABORATORY

In the Food Chemistry Laboratory, research is carried out ; to determine the changes in the food components after irradiation, to determine the optimum irradiation doses that will not cause any change in the chemical composition of food, to determine the irradiation doses that will prevent any change in the sensory quality criteria, to evaluate other technologies that can be used in combination with irradiation and the use of irradiation to solve problems encountered in the food industry. Furthermore, in recent years, research on stable isotope analyzes has been carried out in the scope of the use of nuclear techniques in food traceability.

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Food Chemistry Laboratory

FOOD MICROBIOLOGY LABORATORY

In the Food Microbiology Laboratory, research is carried out to inactivate food spoilage microorganisms and foodborne pathogenic microorganisms that threaten human health and to produce safe food for public health. In addition, studies on the use and development of microbiological methods for detection of irradiated foods are carried out. The greatest advantage of food irradiation technology in terms of consumer health is that it does not leave any chemical residue.

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Food Microbiology Laboratory

DETECTION OF IRRADIATED FOODS LABORATORY

Increased international trade, arrangements between countries and differences in regulations and consumer demand for labelling the irradiated foods created the need for the development of methods for the detection of irradiated foods. On this issue, laboratory for detection of irradiated foods was established and standard methods published by EU-CEN are applied to fulfill the responsibilities attributed to TAEA in 15the article of Official Gazette on November 6th, 1999.

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The Branch organizes courses on food irradiation and detection of irradiated foods. Food producers, exporters, universities, public institutions and organizations responsible for regulations are informed.

The Branch Laboratories have the necessary technical infrastructure to conduct researches in the scope of food irradiation research and isotopic techniques to ensure food safety and traceability.

One of the most useful areas of using the nuclear energy peacefully is the agricultural research. In the unit, the researches have been conducting investigations by using nuclear and related techniques on the basic areas as:

  1. a)      Plant breeding studies for improvement of new cultivars
  2. b)      Studies for investigating the relationships of soil-plant-nutrient-water
  3. c)      Studies on plant protection and pesticide resudies

The goal of the research in plant breeding is to obtain genetic variation and then select  promising plants for the following generations. Our breeding group’s works are mainly based on cereals, food legumes, oil crops, fruits, potato, tomato and fodder crops in order to solve specific problems as:

  • improved yield
  • high quality
  • abiotic stress tolerance (drought, salinity)
  • diseases resistance
  • nitrogen fixation capacity
  • mechanized harvesting

After long term breeding studies in the unit; some new mutant varieties were improved and released such as TAEA A-3 and TAEA C-10 (two soybean mutants with higher seed yield and oil content), TAEA-TUTLUER and TAEA PEŞKİRCİOĞLU (two tobacco mutants resistant to blue mold disease) and TAEA-SAGEL (one chick pea mutant with high yield and quality included resistance to anthracnose disease). In addition, one safflower mutant TAEA-USLU with high yield and oil content is under release prossesies.

 In tomato breeding, we have some problems such as crossing barriers, incompatibility and limited genetic pool. Thus, in 2005, we have started a new project titled “Improvement of New Tomato Genetors by Using Nuclear Techniques. In this research, we are going to develop mutant inbreed lines as genetors which are going to show high heterosis  and resistance to disease of tomato by nuclear techniques. So we can extend the gene pool. As a result of this work, F1 hybrid parent material that will be selected from promising mutant lines, will be used as genetors for national breeding programme.

The goal of the research in soil fertility and plant nutrition is the use of isotopic (such as 15N, 13C, 32P, neutron probe) and other related techniques (such as tensionics and enviroscan) to determine correctly a) the fertilizer and water use efficiencies of plants, b) the relationships between fertilization and the environment, c) the rates of soil mineralization and immobilization and d) the fertilizer movement in the soil profile and thus finding out the management methods which will increase plant production and reduce the environmental pollution and ultimately proposing them to the researchers and farmers.

In parallel  to these objectives we have started research under rainfed and irrigated conditions of Central Anatolia (with a project titled ‘’Comparison of Soil Organic Matter Accumulations Under Various Soil Management Systems in Vetch-Wheat versus Wheat-Wheat Rotations in Central Anatolia’’ at Ankara and with a project titled ‘’Investigations of  Vetch-Potato-Wheat-Potato and Alfalfa-Alfalfa-Potato Rotations Using Vetch and Alfalfa as Green Manure under Drip Irrigation +Fertigation Systems’’at Niğde) in which 15N labelled fertilizer, neutron probe and  13C/12C  techniques are used for the nitrogen and water use efficiencies and organic matter increase determinations, respectively. By using these techniques the subjects mentioned below can be investigated and the solutions can be put out: a) nutrient uptake from the soil, b) pollution of soils and ground waters with nitrate and c) soil organic matter increase and improvement of soil structure. Using all these data will enable us to obtain higher plant yields with good quality. Beside these research works, drip irrigation+fertigation investigations are being done on other vegetables for higher good quality yields. Investigations on biological nitrogen fixation of legumes using 15N technique are continuing, too.

In the Branch,  plant protection and pesticide residue researches are carried out too. The investigations on inhibition of micro organisms, especially fungi, which causes spoilage in the stored fruit and vegetables after the harvest, and their mycotoxin metabolites are conducted by gamma irradiation The disease resistance experiment of mutant plant varieties are also performed in the field. The control of insect in the stored agricultural products by irradiation is possible and also sterile and killing radiation doses for stored pests can  be determined as well. Gamma radiation is also used in Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). The mechanism of resistance in the insect against to the insecticide and  the effects of insecticide can be determined by using 14C-insecticide. By performing supervised-controlled field trial with  14C-pesticide; the fate of pesticide in soil-plant system and environment  is determined; and total, extractable, bound and conjugated residues are determined as quantity and quality, with the combination chromatography. 14C-pesticide is also used as a tool in the laboratory in the QA/QC requirements which proves the reliability of residue data, such as method validation, efficiency and uncertainty of  extraction and cleanup.

PLANT BREEDING LABORATORIES

Cytology Laboratory: Effects of radiation on chromosome morphology have been determined by analysis of mitosis in plant somatic cells and meiosis in pollen mother cells so radiation damage has been determined in this laboratory. Different plant seeds after irradiation have been germinated and fixed root tips are examined for mitosis analyses. Same plant material has been fixed during flowering time for meiosis analyses on pollen mother cells. In this laboratory, light microscopes and binoculars with 100-1000 extension have been used for chromosome damage analyses after irradiation.

Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory: Tissue culture techniques have been used on mutation breeding researches for shortening plant breeding period, decreasing costs and solving the genetic and biological barriers problems in this laboratory. For DH (doubled haploid) production anther culture techniques have been used for barley, immature embryo techniques for wheat and salt resistance studies have been carried out for wheat and barley in this laboratory.

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Cytology Laboratory

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Tissue Culture Laboratory

Mutant Gene Molecular Characterization Laboratory: In this laboratory genetic differentiation of mutant plant material have been determined by different markers systems (RFLP, AFLP, SNP, SSR and COSII) on DNA level. DNA extractions, sequence analyses (Tilling and Sequencer), restriction enzyme applications and mapping studies have been studied in newly installed laboratory.

Mutant Plant Quality Analyses Laboratory: In this laboratory, oil content analyses of mutant plant materials have been carried out by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) instruments. Either our mutant plant materials oil analyses or other institution and universities plant samples analyses have been made in this laboratory.

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Molecular Characterization Laboratory

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Quality Analysis Laboratory (NMR)

SOIL FERTILITY and PLANT NUTRITION LABORATORY

N-15 Laboratory: Total N and  % N-15 atom excess analysis of soil, water and plant samples are carried out in this laboratory. Keltech digestion and destilation units and NOI-7 emission spectrometer are the main equipments in this laboratory. With these equipments a) total N analysis are carried out by wet digestion, destilation and titration procedures, and b) % N-15 atom excess determinations on acidified aluquates samples by determining the N-14/N-15 ratio by NOI-7 emission spectrometer are carried out. These analysis are performed on the samples sent to our laboratory either by internal or abroad agricultural institutions after they pay the cost. Requests for such analysis can be done to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority - Sarayköy Nuclear Research and Training Center.               

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N-15 Laboratory (N-15 Analyser)

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Drip irrigation + fertigation  system

PLANT PROTECTION LABORATORIES

Entomology Laboratory: It is the laboratory where  the works, such as the mechanism  of resistancy in the insect against the insecticides and  the effect of insecticides to the non-target organisms, are carried out by using radiotracer technique. The works, aimed to control of insect in the stored agricultural products by irradiation, is also conducted in this laboratory.  The equipments used in this laboratory are humidator, incubator, insectarium, liquid scintillation analyzer (LSC), binocular and biological oxidizer.

Phytopathology Laboratory: It is the laboratory where  the works, such as isolation and identification of fungi  which causes disease in the harvested products and their relationship with radiation, and the effect of radiation to the fungal metabolites (mycotoxin)  are performed. The works, aimed to determine the reaction of the mutant line to the plant disease, is also carried out in this laboratory. The equipments used in this laboratory are sterile cabinet, autoclave, incubator,  binocular and microscope.

Pesticide Residue Laboratory: It is the laboratory where  the works, such as determination of pesticide residues in plant and soil by using radiotracer technique and total bound extractable and conjugated residues as a quality and quantity with the combination chromatography are carried out. The works, aimed to use radioisotopes as tools  in quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) requirements which proves the reliability of residue data, such as method validation, efficiency and uncertainty of  extraction and cleanup are also conducted in this laboratory. The equipments, such as liquid scintillation analyzer (LSC), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), biological oxidizer, gas chromatography (GC), rotary evaporator, supercritical fluid extractor (SFE), are used in this laboratory.

 

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Semi-Automatic Gel Permeation Chromatography

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Liquid Scintillation Counter (LSC)

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Gas Chromatography (GC)

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Fungal Development of P.expansum

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Irradiated Fungus Culture

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Insectarium