• Tularemia bacteria detected in Columbus, Ohio; no bioterror attack suspected

    BioWatch sensors in Columbus, Ohio, last week picked up higher than normal presence of the bacteria tularemia — a bacteria which may be used in bioterror attacks; Columbus Public Health officials continued to emphasize that people are not at risk and there is no suspicion that bioterrorism was attempted here

  • New technology enables machines to detect microscopic pathogens in water

    Detecting common pathogens in drinking water soon may no longer be bottle-necked under a laboratory microscope; Texas A&M researchers found a way to substitute humans with automatic image analysis systems

  • Students design innovative wastewater treatment process for removing pharmaceuticals

    More and more pharmaceuticals end up in countries’ water supply; four Canadian chemical engineering students have designed an advanced wastewater treatment system which would remove 90 percent of pharmaceuticals and endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) using commercially available technology

  • Biochip technology reveals fingerprints of biochemical threats

    The biochip offers a chance to determine the signatures of biological agents that can be used for bioterrorism, most notably the bacterium that causes anthrax, Bacillus anthracis; while some scientists have used DNA analysis to identify particular strains of the anthrax bacterium, the biochips help scientists and government officials learn how anthrax bacteria are grown, narrowing the pool of potential suspects

  • Northrop Grumman, Luminex collaborate on autonomous biodetectors

    Luminex’s xMAP Technology will serve as the basis of the two companies’ effort to develop a fully automated biosensor which will continuously monitor the environment and serve as an early warning system to alert authorities regarding the release of potentially harmful airborne agents

  • Tiny, sensitive nano oscillator instantly detects pathogens in air or water

    Extraordinarily tiny sensors that can instantly recognize harmful substances in air or water; the device is just 200 nanometers thick and a few microns long with an oscillating cantilever hanging off one end; the cantilever is like a diving board that resonates at distinct frequencies

  • Smaller, more sensitive sensors revolutionize public safety, medicine

    There is a revolution under way — the growth of single-molecule detection; sensors known as “e-noses” function as artificial snouts that can identify the most minute trace of compounds in the air, while microfluidic “lab on a chip” sensors can flag individual DNA strands and other entities in liquids; important implications for public safety and medicine

  • DHS: New bioterror detector will provide near real-time results

    The BioWatch program now monitors more than 30 U.S. urban areas - 20 more will be added in the near future - for the presence biological pathogens, including anthrax, smallpox, plague, and tularemia; the process of collecting the sensors’ filters and analyzing them takes about 36 hours; DHS says Generation 3 technology will provide near real-time analysis; some experts are skeptical

  • NYC subway security system: past due, over budget

    In 2005 the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) awarded Lockheed Martin a $212 million contract to create a cutting-edge security system the city’s subways, buses, and commuter trains; the cost of the security system has ballooned to $461 million and is now over-schedule by a year-and-a-half; The MTA. has $59 million left in capital funding

  • Researchers propose a new way to scan cargo containers

    In 2007 the U.S. government set itself the goal of screening all aviation cargo loaded onto passenger planes and all maritime cargo entering the country for both explosives and nuclear materials; this is an ambitious goal: there are more than ten millions containers entering the United States every year through sea ports and land border crossings, and there are more than 28,000 commercial flights

  • Thermo Fisher Scientific to acquire Ahura Scientific for $145 million in cash

    Ahura Scientific’s products expand Thermo Fisher’s portfolio of portable analytical devices designed to provide customers with the ability rapidly to identify and authenticate a range of molecular and elemental substances in the field; Ahura Scientific has approximately 120 employees and generated full-year revenue of approximately $45 million in 2009; Thermo Fisher Scientific had $10.5 billion in revenues in 2008; the company has approximately 35,000 employees and serves more than 350,000 customers

  • Battling against biological threats with ultrasonics

    A tweezers-like device uses ultrasonics to detect bioterror agents; when a small sample such as a powdery anthrax mix is placed inside the device, an array of piezoelectric transducers would generate an ultrasonic force field onto the sample; security officials would be able to detect anthrax from innocuous powders in the mix through differences in compressibility and density

  • Anthrax false alarm disrupts Alabama

    Envelopes sent to the offices of leading politicians in Alabama found to contain fructose sugar; the nine letters had different postmarks but were all postmarked in the state of Alabama, and investigators now believe the sugar-filled mailings came from the same source

  • MBTA holds drill to prepare for a chemical or biological attack

    Scientists hold week-long drill inside the tunnels and stations of the Boston subway system to test the effectiveness of biological and chemical sensors, the test the speed of spread of chemical and biological toxins, and develop evacuation plans.

  • TSA agents monitor U.S. ground transportation for nuclear, biological threats

    DHS, the FBI, and TSA quietly monitor the U.S. ground transportation system for nuclear and biological weapons; TSA agents carry portable detection sensors fan out aboard trains and buses and at transit hubs