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Chemist devises on-the-spot test for dangerous ‘bath salts’ and ‘plant food’

11 August 2017

You don’t need to have watched too many episodes of the US television series Breaking Bad to know that rogue chemists play a critical role in the global trade of illicit and dangerous drugs.

Countless new formulations are devised each year as criminal syndicates try to stay a step ahead of contemporary law enforcement and drug-testing procedures.

UTS PhD candidate Morgan Philp is a chemist on the other side of the ledger – her work lies in creating ways to detect problematic substances at the earliest opportunity.

Working in the Centre for Forensic Science with her supervisor, Professor Shanlin Fu, Ms Philp has developed a quick and simple colour test for synthetic cathinones. It produces a result in five to 10 minutes and can be easily used by frontline customs officers and police to determine if a suspicious substance requires further analysis. The findings are published this month in the journal Forensic Chemistry.

Read the full story at the UTS Newsroom