15-Jan-2013 - RSC Publishing

Forensic electrochemistry: sensing “molecule of murder” atropine

A disposable and cost effective electrochemical sensor that can detect atropine in a drink has been made by scientists from the UK and Brazil. Atropine is a plant-derived drug that can be used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and exposure to nerve agents. However, it is also used as a poisoning agent, hidden in food or drink to hide its bitter taste.

Current methods for determining atropine include high performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, but these methods are expensive, require sample preparation, and are not very portable. Here, a sensor has been designed using screen printed graphite electrodes, without the requirement of pre-treatment or surface modification, and tested on a cola drink spiked with atropine.

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