Skip to comments.Chemical terror plot foiled in London
Posted on 11/21/2003 10:51:54 PM PST by Jackson Brown
Chemical terror plot foiled in London Fri November 21, 2003 11:43 PM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - An attempt by a London-based terror group to buy half a tonne of toxic chemicals was foiled after the supplier became suspicious and alerted police, the Financial Times has reported.It said the group had attempted to buy 500 kgs (1,102 lb) of the toxin saponin from Amersham Biosciences late last year but the sale was refused after staff became concerned about the size of the order.
A spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police told Reuters on Saturday that police were "not prepared to discuss the matter" at this time.
The Financial Times quoted experts as saying the chemical could have been mixed with another toxin, such as ricin, and smeared in public places, causing widespread poisoning.
Saponin is sometimes used in laboratories to enhance the transmission of molecules through biological cell walls, while ricin is highly toxic, with less than one milligram sufficient to kill an adult.
Lennart Arlinger, business development director of Amersham, said it was possible the would-be purchasers were looking to use saponin "as an enhancer of the efficacy of a biological weapon".
He told the paper the order was so large that it "raised a red flag" and encouraged further inquiries.
The order was refused and the company informed police in Britain and Sweden, where Amersham handled the order, he added.
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Worse... could be overzealous health nuts:
Saponin In Wine - The Latest Discovery - 11-Sep-2003
Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have discovered a new group of chemicals in wine which potentially could provide another explanation for why wine drinking can benefit cardiovascular health. The glucose-based compounds, called saponins, are found in the waxy skins of grapes, but not in the juice. The scientists believe that saponins may help to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol circulating in the body.
"Saponins are a relatively new topic," said head researcher Andrew Waterhouse. "These things are known to be in certain foods, but were never known to be in wine." Olives and vegetables are among the foods that contain saponins. Waterhouse, who is a chemistry professor in the department of viticulture and oenology at UC Davis, presented his team's findings this week in New York at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Waterhouse believes that saponins may work in conjunction with other beneficial compounds found in wine, such as resveratrol. However, he cautioned, little is known about the nature of saponins. "We need more data on what these things do," he said, adding that the research "is not conclusive until we do a more thorough survey as to what is in wine."
If Abdul will pray, to a glowing crater.
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