Access Material property of ParticleRenderer

does anyone have the syntax of accessing the material.element[0] property of the ParticleRenderer component? This is so I can work with the alpha component to properly fade out the particles..The below doesn't quite cut it (is basically similar to Destroy(gameObject)):

public class Collisions : MonoBehaviour {

private ParticleEmitter pEmitter;
public GameObject prefab;
private GameObject inst;

    private void instParticles() {

             if (inst == null) {
            inst = (GameObject) Instantiate(prefab, pos, Quaternion.identity);
        }

    if (inst) {
        /*ParticleEmitter pEmitter = inst.GetComponent<ParticleEmitter>( );
        if (pEmitter.maxSize >= 0) {
            pEmitter.maxSize -= 60 * Time.deltaTime;
        }*/
        ParticleRenderer pRenderer = inst.GetComponent<ParticleRenderer>( );
        if (pRenderer.renderer.material.color.a > 0)
            pRenderer.renderer.material.color = new Color(
            pRenderer.renderer.material.color.r,
            pRenderer.renderer.material.color.g,
            pRenderer.renderer.material.color.b,
            pRenderer.renderer.material.color.a - 0.20f * Time.deltaTime
        );
        else {

            Destroy(inst, 0.175f);
            Destroy(go);

            pRenderer.renderer.material.color = new Color(
            pRenderer.renderer.material.color.r,
            pRenderer.renderer.material.color.g,
            pRenderer.renderer.material.color.b,
            1);
    }
  //...

It won't work because none of the particle shaders have a property called "_Color". Either edit the shader, or use SetColor instead.

In addition, there's no reason to use pRenderer.renderer. pRenderer already inherits from renderer; you don't need to fetch the renderer component that's attached to its game object, because it already is that.

http://unity3d.com/support/documentation/ScriptReference/Material-color.html