Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Household bleach can decontaminate food prep surfaces in ricin bioterrorist attack

Date:
March 30, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Help for a bioterrorist attack involving ricin, one of the most likely toxic agents, may be as close at hand as the laundry shelf, according to a new report. It concluded that ordinary household bleach appears to be an effective, low-cost, and widely available way to decontaminate food preparation surfaces in homes, restaurants, and processing plants that are tainted with ricin.

Help for a bioterrorist attack involving ricin, one of the most likely toxic agents, may be as close at hand as the laundry shelf, according to a report presented on March 29 at the 241st National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Anaheim, California . It concluded that ordinary household bleach appears to be an effective, low-cost, and widely available way to decontaminate food preparation surfaces in homes, restaurants, and processing plants that are tainted with ricin.

Related Articles


Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans, which are grown and processed throughout the world to produce castor oil. Although no longer widely used as a laxative, castor oil remains a key raw material in the manufacture of soaps, paints, dyes, inks, lubricants, hydraulic and brake fluids, and other products. Ricin occurs in the waste "mash" left behind after production of castor oil. Because it is so easy to obtain and so toxic, with no antidote, experts regard ricin as one of the most likely bioterror agents.

"This discovery is important because it provides a practical, readily available way to inactivate ricin on food processing equipment in the event of an intentional contamination event," said Lauren Jackson, Ph.D., who reported on the research. "It is the first study to explore ricin decontamination in the presence of food, and it shows that household bleach is effective."

Jackson and colleagues prepared solutions of bleach and two other substances routinely used at food processing plants to disinfect counters, machinery and other surfaces that may contain harmful bacteria or viruses. The other disinfectants were peroxyacetic acid (PAA) and so-called quaternary ammonium compounds. In one set of experiments, they tested the substances on discs of stainless steel smeared with milk-based infant formula, pancake mix, peanut butter and other foods that contained ricin. They also tested the three disinfectants on a "control" solution containing ricin, but without any food, to make sure it was the disinfectants that inactivated ricin and not something present in the foods.

Household bleach turned out to be the most effective anti-ricin agent. Bleach significantly reduced the toxicity of ricin within five minutes, noted Jackson, a research food technologist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Summit-Argo, Ill. Bleach completely eliminated ricin in the "control" samples using just a small amount of bleach. PAA also showed effectiveness, but less so than bleach.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Household bleach can decontaminate food prep surfaces in ricin bioterrorist attack." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110329172234.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, March 30). Household bleach can decontaminate food prep surfaces in ricin bioterrorist attack. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110329172234.htm
American Chemical Society. "Household bleach can decontaminate food prep surfaces in ricin bioterrorist attack." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110329172234.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins