A portable breathalyser has been developed by a team of researchers in the USA.

The breathalyser has been developed using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to analyse organic markers. It is hoped that it will be able to be used to detect lung cancer and heart transplant rejection.

The idea ogf using it to detect terrorists has also been suggested. The researchers tested people who handled explosives daily and found out that they exhaled a whole range of organic compounds that the control group did not exhale. Chemicals from the explosives had been inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

The researchers admit though, there is still a long way to go before it can be used to catch terrorists.

The blog post is based on an article in New Scientist magazine, ‘Bombers face detection by breathalyser’ published on 29th October 2005 on page 28.