Narrator: This is Science Today. A technology that can rapidly detect biological agents in office buildings or in ports of entry such as airports and train stations has been developed by researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Eric Gard, who leads the Lab's Defense Biology and Biosciences division, says it's called a bioaerosol mass spectrometry system, or BAMS.
Gard: BAMS is autonomous, does the sampling and detection itself, but it does it in a time scale of seconds rather than hours.
Narrator: Previous technologies took hours and Gard says when it comes to detecting biological agents, time is of essence.
Gard: We're looking at all classes of biological threat – we're looking at spores, vegetative cells, viruses and toxins. So, examples of the bacteria would be anthrax, plague and CDC has a list of other things that are of interest to them in the viral and toxin category that we're also looking for.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.