Exploration of plasticizer and plastic explosive detection and differentiation with serum albumin cross-reactive arrays†
Plastic explosives, such as Semtex and C4, are commonly used explosive mixtures. The differentiation and detection of the plasticizers within these mixtures could provide information for anti-terrorism and combat activities. In this study, we demonstrate a strategy of using cross-reactive serum albumin proteins to differentiate and detect the plasticizers found within these explosive mixtures. With our sensing ensemble, comprised of serum albumins, fluorescent indicators and an additive, we successfully classified the five plasticizers found within Semtex and C4 using linear discriminate analysis, and differentiated simulated Semtex and C4 mixtures based on surrogates of the explosive material(s) and the plasticizer composition in these samples. Finally, we have shown the utility of this type of cross-reactive array for real life use in a battlefield setting by examining these mixtures in the presence of soil contamination.