• New detector tests for illegal drugs, superbugs in minutes

    A new method of detecting illegal drugs and super bugs will be used in a U.K. government-backed handheld device that analyzes saliva; the testing takes minutes and costs as little as £1.50 per test; it works by measuring the electric charge generated when the substances in the saliva react with an electrode coated with antibodies

  • University lab tech's suicide by cyanide prompts safety fears

    A Northeastern University lab technician stole cyanide from the lab, which she then used to kill herself; suicide raises public safety fears over easy access to deadly chemicals; one terrorism expert, though, says that many incidents of dangerous chemicals stolen from college labs are used by the thief against themselves and not others; “It’s the jilted lover, the disgruntled employee, it’s the suicide not the suicide attack”

  • New detection technology identifies bacteria, viruses, other organisms within 24 hours

    In the area of biodefense, current systems are centered on the detection of smaller prioritized sets of high-risk pathogens, rather than testing for a much broader spectrum of organisms; a new detection method from Lawrence Livermore allows not only the identification of the biological pathogens on a priority screening list, but also any other already-sequenced bacteria or virus in a sample that first responders, doctors, or regulatory agencies might not have been expecting to find, including possible novel or emerging pathogens

  • Non-toxic cleaners for terrorist attacks

    Traditional chlorine- and lye-based cleaning agents are potentially hazardous and can react with chemical weapons and other materials in the environment to form new toxic substances; military researchers non-toxic, ultra-strength cleaners that could be used in the aftermath of a terrorist attack; the peroxide-based “green” decontaminants are tough enough to get rid of nerve gas, mustard gas, radioactive isotopes, and anthrax

  • New sensor speeds water analysis

    New sensor creates a single procedure for in-situ monitoring of chlorinated hydrocarbons in water, obviating the need for laboratory-based technologies for the analysis of water contaminants, which are time consuming, labor intensive and expensive

  • Planned security network for Lower Manhattan would not have identified bomber

    New York City plans to install a protection system in Lower Manhattan which will consist of surveillance cameras, license plate readers, and chemical sensors; the system will be able to record and track every vehicle moving between 34th and 59th Streets, river to river; because neither the S.U.V. used in the attempt last Saturday nor the license plate on it had been reported stolen, it would not have raised any immediate red flags

  • Laser decontamination for post-chemical attacks, accident clean-up

    Many building materials — like cement and brick — are extremely porous; getting contaminants off surfaces like these is difficult, since they can inhabit cracks and pores; cleaning up chemical-contaminated structures can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming; what if terrorists attacked an urban center with chemicals? Researchers say the answer is to use laser to decontaminate an area after a terrorist attack or an industrial accident

  • 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