Archive for the ‘CBRNE’ Category

Study Shows How Microorganisms Survive in Harsh Environments

Saturday, May 9th, 2020

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — In northern Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth, microorganisms are able to eke out an existence by extracting water from the rocks they colonize.

An Army-funded project by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, Johns Hopkins University and University of California, Riverside gained an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms by which some cyanobacteria, an ancient group of photosynthetic microbes, survive in harsh environments.

The new insights, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrate how life can flourish in places without much water in evidence – including Mars – and how people living in arid regions may someday be able to procure hydration from available minerals.

“The Army has a strong interest in how microorganisms well-adapted to extreme environments can be exploited for novel applications such as material synthesis and power generation within these harsh fielded environments,” said Dr. Robert Kokoska, program manager, Army Research Office, an element of U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory. “This study provides valuable clues for uncovering the evolved design strategies used by these native desert-dwelling microbes to maintain their viability in the face of multiple environmental challenges.”

Through work in the field and laboratory experiments, the research team focused on the interactions of Chroococcidiospsis, a desiccation-resistant species of cyanobacteria that is found in deserts around the world, and gypsum, a water containing calcium sulfate-based mineral. The colonizing lifeforms exist beneath a thin layer of rock that gives them a measure of protection against the Atacama’s extreme temperature, high solar irradiance and battering winds.

Co-author Jocelyne DiRuggiero, JHU associate professor of biology, traveled to the remote desert to collect gypsum samples and brought them back to her labs in the United States. She cut small pieces, where microorganisms could be found, and sent them to UCI for materials analysis.

In one of the most striking findings of the study, the researchers learned that the microorganisms change the very nature of the rock they occupy. By extracting water, they cause a phase transformation of the material – from gypsum to anhydrite, a dehydrated mineral.

According to DiRuggiero, the impetus for the published work came when Wei Huang, a UCI post-doctoral scholar in materials science & engineering, spotted data showing an overlap in concentrations of anhydrite and cyanobacteria in the gypsum samples collected in the Atacama.

“Our analysis of the regions of rock where microbes were colonized revealed a dehydrated phase of calcium sulfate, suggesting that they extract water from the rock to survive,” said David Kisailus, lead author and UCI professor of materials science & engineering. “We wanted to do some more controlled experiments to validate that hypothesis.”

DiRuggiero’s team then allowed the organisms to colonize half-millimeter cubes of rocks, called coupons, under two different conditions, one in the presence of water, to mimic a high-humidity environment, and the other completely dry. In the midst of moisture, the gypsum did not transform to the anhydrite phase.

“They didn’t need water from the rock, they got it from their surroundings,” Kisailus said. “But when they were put under stressed conditions, the microbes had no alternative but to extract water from the gypsum, inducing this phase transformation in the material.”

Kisailus’ team used a combination of advanced microscopy and spectroscopy to examine the interactions between the biological and geological counterparts, finding that the organisms bore into the material like tiny miners by excreting a biofilm containing organic acids, Kisailus said.

Huang used a modified electron microscope equipped with a Raman spectrometer to discover that the organisms used the acid to penetrate the rock in specific crystallographic directions – only along certain planes where they could more easily access water existing between faces of calcium and sulfate ions.

Kisailus said the project was a great demonstration of interdisciplinary research between microbiologists and materials scientists that may, one day, open doors to other forms of scientific discovery.

“Scientists have suspected for a long time that microorganisms might be able to extract water from minerals, but this is the first demonstration of it,” DiRuggiero said. “This is an amazing survival strategy for microorganisms living at the dry limit for life, and it provides constraints to guide our search for life elsewhere.”

Researchers said this study can benefit the Army Research Lab’s efforts in synthetic biology.

“These findings have drawn the interest of our lab as microbial survival mechanisms can be leveraged for biomanufacturing or sensing platforms in harsh military environments,” said Dr. Matthew Perisin of the lab’s biotechnology branch.

In addition to the Army, NASA also provided funding for this project.


Friday, April 10th, 2020

We’ve been talking about Ops-Core’s Special Operations Tactical Respirator for a couple of years now. While it was never intended for use in a pandemic, some have adopted it due to he lack of N95 masks for those not in the medical profession. A lot of questions have come up about the certification of the filter media. Do you slides from Ops-Core will give you some of the lowdown??.

New Owyhee COVID-19 Decontamination Solution

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020


(Eagle, ID – Owyhee Group Companies) Owyhee Group Companies announced it is partnering with Spectra Shield Technologies to supply Spectra DF-500 disinfectant to its customers during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The objective is to provide a solution that kills and neutralizes biological threats like COVID-19. The Spectra DF-500 formulation grew out of the licensing and commercialization of a high-level disinfectant developed by the US Government at Sandia National Laboratories under the name DF-200. “The mainstay of the disinfectant world has been bleach and other toxic, corrosive, non-biodegradable and hazardous products. Under most residential conditions, these products do what they report. However, in cases of biohazards and pandemics there is a need for a higher level of efficacy and permanency. The competitive difference of Spectra DF-500 and Spectra DF-200 is the spectrum of kill and the environmental benefits”, notes Spectra Shield Technologies CEO Thad Weist.

The development of Spectra DF-500 came out of the U.S. government recognition of a need to combat bioterrorism after a nerve agent was released on a Tokyo subway in 1995, killing 12 and injuring another 1,000. The goal was to develop a solution to neutralize a wide spectrum of chemical and biological threats such as Anthrax, MRSA and other viral threats, with low-corrosivity and reducing the harmful effects to the environment. Unlike traditional disinfectants, Spectra DF-500 chemically cleaves the spore wall and neutralizes the mycotoxin inside. It also changes the osmotic pressure around the cell, which causes an imbalance in the internal cellular pressure resulting in the total collapse of the cellular membrane. In 2004, Kansas State University did a study with the DF-200 formula against SARS-Coronavirus with 100% deactivation in 1 minute.

The disinfectant is avaliable from Owyhee Group Companies in two different products: Spectra DF-500 and Spectra DF-200. Spectra DF-500 is EPA registered as a Decontaminant, Disinfectant, Virucide, Bactericide, Fungicide, Deodorizer, Algaecide, Antibacterial, Mildewstat and Cleaner. The Spectra DF-200 is a 3 part solution, including an accelerator to kill and neutralize chemical and biological threats and is EPA registered.

The liquids are combined at the time of application and are good for appoximately 8 hours. Unopened, DF-500 and DF-200 can be stored for 6 to 8 years, under controlled conditions. Each can be applied as a foam or as a liquid. An application device is not included in the delivery set. In a proper application, one gallon of fluid can cover 2,500 square feet. While biodegradable, neither product should be used directly on food. Both Spectra DF-500 and DF-200 have proven to be highly effective in destroying bio-films of select microorgansim in food processing facilities. Application of either product on food contact surface requires a potable water rinse.

The products are for sale at in 4 gallon kits that will cover approximately 10,000 square feet. The product is also available in 300 gallon totes for larger applications.

Interested parties can call Owyhee Group at 208.938.6086 or email [email protected] for quotations. The company has provided a special feature page covering the products at

AirBoss Defense Group Selected by FEMA to Support the US National COVID-19 Response

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

Delivering Powered Air Purifying Respirators and High Efficiency Filters to Federal Government

LANDOVER, MD (April 1, 2020) – AirBoss Defense Group (ADG) announced today that the U.S. Government has placed an initial order for 100,000 American-made FlexAir™ Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) and 600,000 High Efficiency Filters for urgent response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FlexAir™ PAPR is designed to enable medical providers and first responders unencumbered protection over extended periods of time while providing critical medical care. The value of the contract is expected to be $96.4M and deliveries will begin immediately and are expected to be completed over the next 13 weeks.

The FlexAir™ PAPR System is a compact, lightweight respirator system powered by an onboard battery in a waist-mounted blower, designed and manufactured in the United States.  The flexible design permits the use of 2 High Efficiency particulate filters, providing a high level of protection against biological viruses like COVID-19.

“This is war, and President Trump is using the full force of the federal government and the full power of private enterprises like ADG to rapidly mobilize our industrial base to fight the hidden enemy of COVID-19.” said Dr. Peter Navarro, White House Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.  “ADG has stepped up with lightning speed, and their willingness to help meet the urgent need for powered respirators will save American lives. This crisis has shown that maintaining and supporting a strong U.S. manufacturing base is of critical importance to our nation’s economic security and national defense.”  

Patrick Callahan, CEO of AirBoss Defense Group said, “ADG is honored to apply our engineering and manufacturing capabilities towards protecting the lives of front-line medical professionals and first responders.  FlexAirÔ PAPR systems are designed to provide caregivers ultimate protection against biological threats, including COVID-19, enhancing the life-saving capabilities of our dedicated health care workers.  The entire company is completely focused on delivering these products on an accelerated timeline, to Federal, state and local authorities as well directly to frontline health care professionals. As our products are manufactured in the United States, we are prepared to quickly provide lifesaving products as the need for protective equipment evolves.”

ADG is an umbrella survivability group that provides military, law enforcement, medical providers, industrial providers and first responders with a diverse portfolio of protective equipment that spans the entire survivability spectrum. AirBoss Defense, an ADG brand, is a recognized world leader in rapid deployment negative pressure isolation shelters, medical protection equipment, and personal respiratory protective products. AirBoss Defense’s emergency response and protective equipment is utilized by the U.S. Department of State, Office of Strategic Medical Preparedness, FEMA and CDC infectious disease treatment centers.

In addition, AirBoss Defense provides protective equipment to emergency medical response teams and hospitals in over 1,500 U.S. cities, as well as over 30 countries worldwide. The company successfully responded during the MERS and Ebola outbreaks, by providing critical protective equipment to government and civilian medical customers.  The company will continue to engage in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak through the rapid delivery of domestically manufactured personal protection equipment and patient isolation systems to the medical community.

For more information, please visit  

Federal Resources Announces Disinfection Unit Leader Course

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

The Disinfection Unit Leader (DUL) course prepares personnel to plan and manage disinfection of PPE, facilities, equipment, and vehicles. Includes application tactics and multiple disinfection solutions.

Course ends with a full scale disinfection of the training facility.

Their mobile training team is still providing on-site training.

E-mail [email protected] for more info.

Defense Logistics Agency Short Suspense Coronavirus RFI

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Troop Support Clothing & Textiles Directorate is conducting market research to determine industry capabilities for providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) against viral contamination, specifically COVID-19. This is a Request for Information only and not a solicitation for award. DLA understands this is a fluid situation where the landscape of availability is constantly changing. The primary purpose of this announcement is to identify potential sources, product offerings, availability and/or challenges to procuring and obtaining such items to rapidly meet emerging requirements. Therefore, to the extent practical, additional market research may be conducted prior to posting any solicitation to capture the snapshot of the availability at that specific point in time. DLA urges those companies that can provide the following category of items to respond even after the initial response due date of Tuesday, 24 March 2020, 5:00 PM.

The categories are not an all-inclusive list. DLA welcomes industry to identify alternatives or identify additional PPE items necessary to protect against viral contamination of the COVID-19.


(1)  Protective Coveralls, in any variant, i.e. with hood and booties, without hood and booties, with hood no booties, with booties no hood, etc.

(2)  Protective Aprons and or Gowns

(3)  Protective Hoods

(4)  Protective Masks

(5)  Protective Booties

(6)  Protective Gloves

(7)  Protective Boots

DLA is asking the Industry to:

Identify/recommend specific products available or specific products that could be available in the near term that can meet the requirements of PPE to protect against viral contamination of the COVID-19 virus.

For each recommended item:

1.     Provide a specification or detailed description of the recommended item.

2.     Identify whether the item is specifically certified as PPE for viral infections and how,

3.     Identify the place of manufacture for all components of the recommended item, the place of manufacturing for the end item, and storage locations if applicable,

4.     Identify if the recommended item is Berry Compliant – meaning that the recommended item is manufactured in the USA with USA sourced/manufactured components.

5.     Identify the current level of inventory for each recommended item or the manufacturing lead-time for each recommended item,

6.     Identify total monthly and yearly production capacity of each recommended item,

7.     Identify any production limitations for each recommended item,

8.     Comment on any requirements that may be imposed on potential Government orders for each recommended item (i.e. must have an order in xx amount of time, must have xx amount of time to provide a quote, unable to ship overseas, only willing to ship within the continental USA, etc.)

9.     Suggestions on any contractual management fees for providing DLA access to inventory in the event of a future crisis without any guarantee of any order from DLA,

10. Identify if your firm is unwilling or unable to provide PPE items along with a reason why.

Please contact Jessica De La Hoz via email for any questions at [email protected].

Initial responses are requested by 5:00 PM, Tuesday, 24 March 2020. However, DLA will accept any and all responses received after this date and time for any ongoing requirements.

Line Of Fire Defence – CBRN Gas Mask Pouch

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

LOF Defence has introduced a CBRN Gas Mask Pouch. It is made from 500D Cordura and is PALS compatible. It features one-handed opening with rigid inserts in critical areas.

Along with this highly streamlined pouch, they have added a few accessories, such as the 40mm Filter Pouch as well as Specialty Unit Patches.

Available in 8 different color options.

Gentex M52 Joint Service Chemical Environmental Survivability Mask

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

Think of it as a “get off the X” insurance policy. Since the Aum Shinrikyo Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo Subway in the 1990s, some organizations have been issuing disposable protective masks to allow their personnel to escape chemical, biological and nuclear threats which might be encountered off the battlefield where traditional PPE is not available.

JSCESM is a lightweight, low bulk protective mask/hood capable of providing above the neck, respiratory and ocular protection against low-level threat Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) attacks, for short durations. The M52 JSCESM defends users against non-direct hazards, such as chemical vapors, fumes, and airborne biological and radiological particulate hazards.

This disposable mask is good for one use and offers more than two hours of continuous protection against low-level vapor, aerosol and particulate threats.

Cartridge Service Life

Live Agent Testing

In its stored configuration JSCESM is packed in a 4” x 7” x 4.75” size and weighs less than 1.3 lbs.