Trace Detection of Meglumine and Diatrizoate from Bacillus Spore Samples Using Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry

Authors

  • Catherine Swider B.S.,

    1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory Division, Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Sciences Unit, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135.
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  • Kelly Maguire M.S.,

    1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory Division, Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Sciences Unit, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135.
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  • Michael Rickenbach Ph.D.,

    1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory Division, Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Sciences Unit, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135.
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    • Present address: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory Division, Chemistry Unit, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135.

  • Madeline Montgomery B.S.,

    1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory Division, Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Sciences Unit, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135.
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    • Present address: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory Division, Chemistry Unit, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135.

  • Matthew J. Ducote Ph.D.,

    1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory Division, Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Sciences Unit, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135.
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    • Present address: Midwest Research Institute, Florida Division, 1470 Treeland Blvd SE, Palm Bay, FL 32909.

  • Craig A. Marhefka Ph.D.

    1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory Division, Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Sciences Unit, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135.
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  • Presented in part at the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists, May 5–8, 2009, in Hunt Valley, MD.

  • This is publication number 09-18 of the Laboratory Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Names of commercial manufactures are provided for identification only, and inclusion does not imply endorsement of the manufacture, or its products or services, by the FBI. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the FBI or the U.S. Government.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Catherine Swider, B.S.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory Division
2501 Investigation Parkway, Room 3100
Quantico, VA 22135
E-mail: catherine.swider@ic.fbi.gov

Abstract

Abstract:  Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, letters containing Bacillus anthracis were distributed through the United States postal system killing five people. A complex forensic investigation commenced to identify the perpetrator of these mailings. A novel liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry protocol for the qualitative detection of trace levels of meglumine and diatrizoate in dried spore preparations of B. anthracis was developed. Meglumine and diatrizoate are components of radiographic imaging products that have been used to purify bacterial spores. Two separate chromatographic assays using multiple mass spectrometric analyses were developed for the detection of meglumine and diatrizoate. The assays achieved limits of detection for meglumine and diatrizoate of 1.00 and 10.0 ng/mL, respectively. Bacillus cereus T strain spores were effectively used as a surrogate for B. anthracis spores during method development and validation. This protocol was successfully applied to limited evidentiary B. anthracis spore material, providing probative information to the investigators.

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