The Institute for trace element research is situated in the heart of the scientific boulevard in the district of Gerland, in the South of Lyon, France, at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône. This area is part of an ongoing urban development programme which will on completion make it a focal point in the Eurocity of Lyon in the 21st century.
All substances are composed of only about a hundred fundamental kinds of matter called elements. Each element is designated by an atomic number, an atomic mass, a name, and a chemical symbol. These elements have been arranged in the periodic table. In living organisms, their distribution varies depending on the type of tissue. Elements present at concentrations less than 300 micrograms per gram are known as trace elements.
Trace elements are an integral part of environmental science, the study of soil, air and water, as their content in man, animals and plants depends on an ecosystem.
The development of science education in the field of trace elements is interdisciplinary including chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, genetics, epidemiology, therapeutics and also nutrition, agronomy and veterinary sciences.
In accordance with the Science Agenda, adopted at the UNESCO World Conference on Science in Budapest, Hungary, from 26 June to 1 July 1999, Trace Element – Institute for UNESCO (TEU) and its network of satellite centres have agreed to promote:
industrialised countries versus developing countries
Worldwide Network of Satellite Centres:
Dedicated to UNESCO’s objectives, Trace Element – Institute for UNESCO has established a network of satellite centres throughout the world to encourage sustainable development : Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Russia, Senegal, Tunisia, Turkey, West Indies.
Trace Element Laboratory:
A worldwide network of laboratories working on trace elements.
The laboratory in Lyon is equipped with two Zeeman electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometers, two inductively coupled atomic emission spectrometers, a flow injection-cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometer for the determination of mercury and an ionometer for the determination of fluoride. The laboratory follows Quality Assurance procedures, a service available for satellite centres providing a valuable guarantee for analytical results. It is also a member of French and European interlaboratory assay programmes.
Trace Element Library:
A number of services have been developed for satellite centre members :
Conferences, training courses and seminars are organised both in Lyon and in the satellite institutes for students, research scientists and medical doctors. Assistance is provided so that satellite centre members can participate in other international conferences and meetings in fields related to trace elements. The institute is represented at a high number of international conferences to monitor the latest developments in research.
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