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Title: Analysis of chemical warfare agents by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry: methods for their direct detection and derivatization approaches for the analysis of their degradation products

Abstract Chemical warfare agents (CWAs) are unarguably one of the most feared toxic substances produced by mankind. Their inception in conventional warfare can be traced as far back as the Middle Ages but their full breakthrough as central players in bellic conflicts was not realized until World War I. Since then, more modern CWAs along with efficient methods for their manufacture have emerged and violently shaped the way modern warfare and diplomatic relations are conducted. Owing to their mass destruction ability, counter methods to mitigate their impact appeared almost immediately on par with their development. These efforts have focused on their efficient destruction, development of medical countermeasures and their detection by modern analytical chemistry methods. The following review seeks to provide the reader with a broad introduction on their direct detection by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and the various sample derivatization methods available for the analysis of their degradation products. The review concentrates on three of the main CWA classes and includes the nerve agents, the blistering agents and lastly, the incapacitating agents. Each section begins with a brief introduction of the CWA along with discussions of reports dealing with their detection in the intact form by GC-MS. Furthermore, asmore » products arising from their degradation carry as much importance as the agents themselves in the field of forensic analysis, the available derivatization methods of these species are presented for each CWA highlighting some examples from our lab in the Forensic Science Center at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.« less
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Reviews in Analytical Chemistry
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Journal Name: Reviews in Analytical Chemistry Journal Volume: 37 Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2191-0189
Walter de Gruyter GmbH
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