Forensic Microbiology

Microorganisms make good weapons and bioterrorism has been known to exist since centuries. This has most recently been highlighted by the terrorist attack using anthrax in the fall of 2001 in U.S. Although such attacks of bioterrorism are few, forensic evidence to criminally prosecute the perpetrator is necessary. To strengthen defence against bio crimes, a comprehensive technological network involving various fields needs to be developed. Microbial forensics is one such new discipline combining microbiology and forensic science. It uses advanced molecular techniques like microarray analysis and DNA fingerprinting etc. to associate the source of the causative agent with a specific individual or group by measuring variations between related strains. High quality assurance and quality control standards for microbial forensics will ensure highly reliable results that will stand up in the court of law. The more precise and refined a microbial system becomes, the more proper guidelines for investigations will be defined. An integrated approach towards developing this field of microbial forensics needs to be followed, to meet the challenges of bioterrorism more effectively.

Microbial Forensics is currently in its developing stage. It will be most effective if there is sufficient basic scientific information concerning microbial genetics, evolution, physiology, and ecology. Better controls are needed to protect legitimate users and to deter criminal dissemination of dangerous microorganisms or their toxic by-products. Better information and/or access to information is required on those individuals who have access to these pathogens so threats can be deterred or effectively traced back to possible sources.

  • Sample matrix analysis
  • Biological agents
  • Microbe Identification by classic Microbiology
  • Nucleic acid ampilification techniques
  • Serology
  • Animal pathogens and agroterrorism
  • Quality Assurance
  • Reporting and Survelliance system

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