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Warfare agent detector

The biological warfare agent ricin can now be detected by a molecularly imprinted polymer1.

Ricin which have diverse effects on cells of different organs like liver, kidney, pancreas, intestines and parathyroid is a toxin isolated from castor bean seeds.

The researchers devised molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for ricin on the surface of silica particles by using a mixture of two organic silanes. MIPs were then compared with non-imprinted polymers (NIPs).

Sophisticated imaging technique revealed that ricin-MIP had enhanced surface area than NIP. Ricin-MIP also had more pore width and volume than NIP.

Using the method, ricin and other biological warfare agents can be recognised, pre-concentrated and separated of from various matrices, the researchers say.



  1. Pradhan, S. et al. Molecularly imprinted nanopatterns for the recognition of biological warfare agent ricin. Biosens. Bioelectron. 25 (2009) 592-598

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