Navigation Links
New test could help track down and prosecute terrorists

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2012 The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) award-winning "Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions" podcast series describes the development of a new test that could help track down and prosecute terrorists.

Amid concerns about the threat of terrorist attacks, scientists have been seeking better protection for the U.S. and other nations. One such team has developed a technique that could help authorities catch terrorists and put them out of business. A report on the development appeared in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry, and became the topic of the new podcast.

Nerve agents like sarin, or GB, are some of the most dangerous terrorist threats. Although traces of these substances would remain after an attack, there has been no practical way of tracing the remains backward in time to the company from which they were purchased or possibly to the terrorists who bought them.

In the podcast, Carlos Fraga, Ph.D., of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash., explains that his team has developed a first-of-its-kind technology that could help law enforcement officials trace the residues from terrorist attacks involving nerve gas and other chemical agents back to the companies or other sources from which the perpetrators obtained ingredients for the agent.

The researchers used a method called "impurity profiling" that identifies impurities in a GB sample at a crime scene and matches them like a fingerprint to the impurities in the source chemicals, pinpointing the likely source. They found that up to 88 percent of the impurities in source chemicals used to make GB can wind up in the finished product, and these impurities are unique, like a fingerprint.

So exactly how would these "fingerprints" help the FBI, police and other federal law enforcement officials? Using standard laboratory instruments, the scientists did impurity profiling and correctly identified the starting materials used for two different batches of GB. This may one day become a basis for using impurity profiling to help find and prosecute perpetrators of chemical attacks, says Fraga.

The new podcast is available without charge at iTunes and from


Contact: Michael Bernstein
American Chemical Society

Related biology news :

1. Heart-powered pacemaker could one day eliminate battery-replacement surgery
2. Depression could be evolutionary byproduct of immune system
3. Universal vaccines could finally allow for wide-scale flu prevention
4. New project could herald cheaper and more efficient biotechnology
5. Peat fires could accelerate climate change
6. As climate change increases forest fires, smoke forecasting could help protect public health
7. Switching antiepileptic drugs could increase risk of seizures
8. Deepwater Horizon disaster could have billion dollar impact
9. Marine protected areas: changing climate could require change of plans
10. Researchers warn nanoparticles in food, vitamins could harm human health
11. Genetic studies of special mice could lead to rapid human health advances
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/21/2016)... , June 21, 2016 NuData Security announced ... new role of principal product architect and that ... director of customer development. Both will report directly ... officer. The moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in ... to high customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... Finland , June 9, 2016 ... National Police deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the ... France during the major tournament ... data communications systems and services, announced today that its video ... Prefecture to back up public safety across the ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, Biometrics & ... & Other Service  The latest report from ... of the global Border Security market . Visiongain ... billion in 2016. Now: In November 2015 ... and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores ... 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list of well-respected retailers. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital ... Sports Association to serve as their official health ... Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training ... association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... Sports Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SANTA MONICA, Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer ... to pioneer increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of ... 77 institutions across 15 countries. Read More About the ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: