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Pyrite dissolution in lung fluid

Trainee Achievements

Pyrite dissolution in lung fluid

Trainee Andrea Harrington has been able to determine the rate of dissolution of pyrite in simulated lung fluid. The work shows for the first time that the rate of pyrite dissolution in the lung environmental is much slower than in water. A one-micron particle is expected to take nearly two years to dissolve in the human lung. The implication of the work is that pyrite particles are projected to accumulate in the human lung when the person is exposed to pyrite-containing dust on a weekly or daily basis. Pyrite is thought to be a key factor in the development of several lung ailments. Because of its slower dissolution, pyrite particle residing in the lung will produce reactive oxygen species over a longer period of time and contribute to the disregulation of cells. Both trainee Harrington and Hylton are co-authors along with mentor Schoonen on a manuscript that reports this finding.