Stable-Isotope Fingerprints of Biological Agents as Forensic Tools

    Volume 48, Issue 1 (January 2003)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Published Online: 1 January 2003

    Page Count: 5


    Vass, AA
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

    Horita, J
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

    (Received 22 August 2002; accepted 17 August 2002)

    Abstract

    Naturally occurring stable isotopes of light elements in chemical and biological agents may possess unique “stable-isotope fingerprints” depending on their sources and manufacturing processes. To test this hypothesis, two strains of bacteria (Bacillus globigii and Erwinia agglomerans) were grown under controlled laboratory conditions. We observed that cultured bacteria cells faithfully inherited the isotopic composition (hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen) of media waters and substrates in predictable manners in terms of bacterial metabolism and that even bacterial cells of the same strain, which grew in media water and substrates of different isotopic compositions, have readily distinguishable isotopic signatures. These "stable-isotopic fingerprints" of chemical and biological agents can be used as forensic tools in the event of biochemical terrorist attacks.


    Paper ID: JFS2002170

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS2002170

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    Author
    Title Stable-Isotope Fingerprints of Biological Agents as Forensic Tools
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30