Main Outcomes

New solids for CWA decontamination were obtained: clay-based layered inorganic oxides (saponite and bentonite) and a series of nanostructured inorganic oxides (ZnO, Nb2O5, TiO2 and WO3).

Very good results in terms of catalytic degradation and selectivity to non-noxious products were obtained in the decontamination of organosulfur and organophosphorus simulant compounds (CEES and DMMP, blistering and nerve CWA simulants, respectively).

Specifically designed methods based on luminol-based chemoluminescent systems evidenced the formation of reactive oxygen species, (free-radical singlet oxygen), responsible for the oxidative decontamination of CWA and, possibly, for the biocidal properties, for a further potential exploitation in the decontamination from biological hazardous agents.

Active catalysts against chemical and biological weapons

One promising solid mixture, which showed remarkable decontamination properties, has been applied to the development of a prototypal decontamination glove, for the immediate removal and neutralization of CWA, to be used by first responders and operators active in contaminated areas. The innovative solid decontamination formulations contain a solid chlorine-free oxidant, complying with the current requirements in avoiding active chlorine sources in the formulations of decontamination devices.

The evaluation tests for this prototype were performed in collaboration with the industrial end-user, NBCsystem company, and one Italian institutional end-user, the ACISMOM Military Corps. The innovative decontamination device showed performances in outdoor on-field tests with simulant agents fully comparable to the ones obtained with current commercially available decontamination tools, but under chlorine-free conditions.

Targeted experiments to assess the acute and chronic biotoxicity of the novel decontaminating solids on living organisms and environment have been performed on bioluminescent bacteria, yeasts and vegetable plants, as well.

— VIDEO on the development of novel rapid biotests based on bioluminescent bacteria —

Finally, a novel type of cell biosensor for the control of the genotoxicity induced by chemical, in mixtures before and after their decontamination as well as in nanostructured solids has been implemented and developed. Such biosensor can be used for a rapid analysis (typically within 20 min) and finds a potential application for on-field measurements in the presence of highly toxic and hazardous compounds.

Nanostructured Materials for the Catalytic Abatement of Chemical Warfare Agents