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RTI International Launches New Spectral Database for Forensic Laboratory, Research, Law Enforcement

As part of an effort to strengthen the scientific basis for forensic toxicology and drug testing, RTI International has created 'Forensic DB' (www.forensicdb.org), a web-based cheminformatic database for the retention, review and ongoing collection o

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As part of an effort to strengthen the scientific basis for forensic toxicology and drug testing, RTI International has created 'Forensic DB' (www.forensicdb.org), a web-based cheminformatic database for the retention, review and ongoing collection of spectral data pertaining to toxins, drugs and other compounds of interest to the forensic community.

Spectral data include multiple different spectra methods. The goal for the database is to have all records include compound structure, data regarding source and collection information, and spectra included as data rather than as images. The database is searchable by key word information, chemical structure or by spectral similarity using an unknown spectrum that a laboratory has collected.

Currently, the database has about 2,500 records representing more than 4,000 spectra, including the American Academy of Forensic Sciences' (AAFS) mass spectroscopy database of electron impact mass spectra of new drugs and metabolite standards and curated by the toxicology section.

As the number of contributing users and labs grows, the database will become a comprehensive compendium of toxins, pharmaceuticals and illicit substances for use by forensic laboratories, researchers and law enforcement. The website also includes a discussion forum for users.

"We want to encourage the forensic community and other chemists to use the database resource and to make contributions to it," said Peter Stout, Ph.D., D-ABFT, a senior research forensic scientist at RTI and curator of the database. "Community users are able to submit records for review and inclusion through the database."

The project, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Justice, features software technology from ACD/Labs.