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    Following an intentional or accidental bio-warfare agent (BWA) release, environmental sample analysis is absolutely critical to determine the extent of contamination. When dealing with nonspore forming BWA (e.g., Yersinia pestis), retention of cell viability is central to such analyses. Even though significant advances have been achieved in DNA sequencing technologies, a positive identification of BWAs in environmental samples must be made through the ability of cells to form colony-forming units upon culturing. Inability to revive the cells between collection and analysis renders such studies inconclusive. Commercial kits designed to preserve the viability of pathogens contained within clinical samples are available, but many of them have not been examined for their ability to preserve samples containing suspected BWAs. The study was initiated to examine the applicability of commercial solutions aiding in retention of Y. pestis viability in samples stored under nonpermissive temperatures, that is, 40 and 37°C. While none of the tested solutions sustained cell viability at 40°C, the results show five out of 17 tested preservatives were capable of supporting viability of Y. pestis at 37°C. © 2020 American Academy of Forensic Sciences. This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.


    Vipin K Rastogi, Lisa S Smith, Laura L Burton, Pooja R Rastogi, Jacquelyn V Harris, Savannah Hurst, Daniel J Angelini. Investigations into Enhancing Yersinia pestis Cells Viability following Environmental Sampling for Forensic Analysis. Journal of forensic sciences. 2020 Jul;65(4):1315-1323

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    PMID: 32017101

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