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Title: Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Ratios of Sodium and Potassium Cyanide as a Forensic Signature

Sodium and potassium cyanide are highly toxic, produced in large amounts by the chemical industry, and linked to numerous high-profile crimes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified cyanide as one of the most probable agents to be used in a future chemical terrorism event. We investigated whether stable C and N isotopic content of sodium and potassium cyanide could serve as a forensic signature for sample matching, using a collection of 65 cyanide samples. A few of these samples displayed non-homogeneous isotopic content associated with degradation to a carbonate salt and loss of hydrogen cyanide. Most samples had highly reproducible isotope content. Of these, >95% could be properly matched based on C and N isotope ratios, with a false match rate <3%. These results suggest that stable C and N isotope ratios are a useful forensic signature for matching cyanide samples.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
  2. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1033144
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Forensic Sciences; Journal Volume: 57; Journal Issue: 1
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
ORNL work for others
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; CARBON; CARBONATES; CHEMICAL INDUSTRY; CHEMICAL WARFARE AGENTS; CYANIDES; DETECTION; DISEASES; HYDROCYANIC ACID; ISOTOPE RATIO; NITROGEN ISOTOPES; POTASSIUM; SABOTAGE; SODIUM forensic science; potassium cyanide; sodium cyanide; isotope ratio mass spectrometry; sample matching