Research Highlight

Warfare agent detector

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.342 Published online 24 November 2009

The biological warfare agent ricin can now be detected by a molecularly imprinted polymer1.

Ricin which have diverse effects on cells of different organs like liver, kidney, pancreas, intestines and parathyroid is a toxin isolated from castor bean seeds.

The researchers devised molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for ricin on the surface of silica particles by using a mixture of two organic silanes. MIPs were then compared with non-imprinted polymers (NIPs).

Sophisticated imaging technique revealed that ricin-MIP had enhanced surface area than NIP. Ricin-MIP also had more pore width and volume than NIP.

Using the method, ricin and other biological warfare agents can be recognised, pre-concentrated and separated of from various matrices, the researchers say.


  1. Pradhan, S. et al. Molecularly imprinted nanopatterns for the recognition of biological warfare agent ricin. Biosens. Bioelectron. 25, 592-598 (2009) | Article | PubMed |