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FBI Study Raises More Questions in Bruce Ivins Anthrax Case

An article published last week by the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) describes how a recent study adds more questions to the controversial investigation of USAMRIID scientist Dr. Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax mailing attacks in the United States.

The initial FBI investigation linked spores found in the anthrax mailings to material contained in a flask labeled “RMR-1029” that was under Dr. Ivins’ control. Lab records later determined that the RMR-1029 material had been purified using a product containing two specific ingredients: meglumine and diatrizoate.

To determine if spore material from the letters also contained these ingredients, researchers from the CBRN Sciences Unit of the FBI developed novel methods to detect trace elements of meglumine and diatrizoate in dried anthrax spores.

Investigators confirmed the presence of the ingredients in the USAMRIID flask. However, utilizing the same methods they found no evidence of the ingredients in the spore samples from the letters used in the attacks.

The research study titled “Trace Detection of Meglumine and Diatrizoate from Bacillus Spore Samples Using Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry” was published last month in the Journal of Forensic Scientists.

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