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NCJ Number: 204067 Find in a Library
Title: Fingerprinting Bioterror Agents
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:31  Issue:1  Dated:January 2004  Pages:68,70,73
Author(s): Douglas Page
Date Published: January 2004
Page Count: 5
Publisher: http://www.officer.com 
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes a novel "fingerprinting" technique currently under development by government researchers that may enable investigators to trace the origin of anthrax and other chemical or biological agents.
Abstract: The system, which is being designed in the Chemical Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, takes advantage of stable isotopes, which are found throughout nature. The technique uses the abundance of natural stable isotopes of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and other light elements found in biological and chemical materials to identify their source. The abundance of these stable isotopes of both natural and manmade compounds varies depending on three factors: starting raw materials and substrates used, manufacturing and culturing processes, and geographic locations of the production sites. The research project has discovered that microbial agents cultured under controlled conditions inherit the isotopic compositions of growth media and substrates in predictable ways. Because the isotopic composition of organic substrates and media water most likely varies according to the source and manufacturing processes of raw materials and the geographic locations, even bacteria of the same strain can be readily distinguished on the basis of their isotopic compositions. This may also be the case for various batches of biological and chemical agents produced in the same laboratories if raw materials and/or processes differ. The use of stable-isotope fingerprints of multi-elements should make it possible to distinguish most, if not all, chemical and biological agents.
Main Term(s): Domestic Preparedness
Index Term(s): Biological weapons; Forensic sciences; Investigative techniques; Terrorist tactics; Terrorist weapons
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=204067

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