In the last few years there have been a number of large natural disasters, including the earthquakes in Haiti and Indonesia, and the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan. These disasters result in devastation and the collapse of buildings and infrastructure in cities, town and villages. Search and rescue teams looking for survivors in the rubble currently use techniques like geophones, telescopic cameras, infrared (IR) cameras, or search dogs to locate survivors. Paweł Mochalski, Anton Amann and a collaborative team from Poland, Austria and Greece have used headspace solid phase micro-extraction gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to study the biomarkers in urine, and looked at how the profile of 22 volatile species in urine changed when in contact with concrete and brick, in an attempt to signify human presence. Read about their interesting study below.
Permeation profiles of potential urine-borne biomarkers of human presence over brick and concrete
Paweł Mochalski, Agapios Agapiou, Milt Statheropoulos and Anton Amann
Analyst, 2012, 137, 3278-3285