Integrated Chemical & Biological Forensics
When faced with a potential chemical or biological threat, timely and accurate identification is critical. What chemical and biological components does it contain? Is it hazardous? What is its likely origin?
Battelle can help you find the answers — even when you’re starting without any initial information to guide the investigation. Using advanced analytical methods, we can accurately characterize the chemical and biological components of unknown substances. Our approach yields rich, detailed information from even limited samples to provide comprehensive and timely technical intelligence for high-stakes forensic investigations.
Many labs can confirm or refute the suspected identity of a substance. But when faced with a complete unknown, it’s hard to know where to start. “What is it?” is a much more difficult question to answer than “Is this substance X”?
That’s where Battelle’s analytical expertise can help. When investigating an unknown sample, we use integrated biological and chemical analytical methods that have been validated for these types of forensic investigations. This includes specialized methods for extraction and preparation to maximize the forensic value of even small or deteriorated samples. Our researchers systematically triage samples to determine the best analytical methods to use and in what order. We can quickly identify and characterize biological, chemical and mixed samples, including new and emerging chemical and biological agents.
Don't know where to start?
Advanced Genomic Analysis
We use Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) to sequence any DNA found in the sample, including human, microbial, plant and animal DNA.
- Microbial genomic analysis: MPS allows us to identify all of the organisms in a sample down to the strain level. Our analysts can determine whether the agent is of natural origin, genetically altered or contains antibiotic resistance genes. These clues can sometimes be used for attribution to particular laboratories or regions of the world.
- Human genomic analysis: We sequence any human DNA found in the sample for forensic investigation. MPS allows investigators to extract important information out of the sample even if no matches are found in forensic databases, including sex, ancestry, familial relationships, age range and phenotype (e.g., hair color, eye color, skin tone, height and some facial characteristics).
Advanced Chemical Analysis
Battelle applies gas chromatography and high-resolution mass spectrometry to characterize unknown samples to determine what chemicals and proteins are present. We use state-of-the-art equipment, methods and quality systems to produce accurate, defensible data. Our team brings together highly experienced and credentialed staff, including Ph.D.-level analytical chemists, organic chemists and biochemists.
Integrated chemical and biological analysis allows us to characterize all of the components in a sample for more robust and complete forensic investigation. For example, chemical analysis of samples containing biological agents provides additional information — such as the presence of toxins or formulation agents or unique contaminants — that may help identify the method of production. We can help you find the answers you need to move your investigation forward quickly and with confidence.