can indicate the presence of unknown toxic agents.
Recommendation 9-1: Research should be conducted to explore how far functional detection systems can progress in satisfying detect-to-warn requirements for low response time, high sensitivity, low false alarm rate, ease of sample preparation, and acceptable logistics for deployment. The research should identify systems that offer a broad spectrum of sensitivities as well as the potential for providing classification of toxic materials. The research should address issues such as sensitivity, false alarm rate, sample preparation, and logistical requirements for deployment.
Finding 9-2: Because of the requirement for sterility when using biological materials as detection elements, function-based detectors that utilize cells and operate continuously may have limitations if intact threat organisms are required for detection.
Recommendation 9-2: Research is needed to explore the limits of cell-based detection systems, including requirements for sample collection and sterilization as well as methodologies for extending the functional life of the sensing elements, both in operation and storage of reagents (cells) for future use. Development of cell lyophilization and rapid rehydration technologies is also needed.
Finding 9-3: The use of sentinel animals has been, and continues to be, an effective method of detection of the introduction of harmful material into a population. The function-based detection system is an extension of this approach that may provide increased sensitivity and decreased detection time.
Recommendation 9-3: Research should be conducted to develop more sophisticated, noninvasive methods (e.g., spectroscopic analysis of blood chemistry close to the skin surface) for detecting rapid biological changes in sentinel animals that result from exposure to a toxic agent.