Biowarfare, bioterrorism and biocrime: A historical overview on microbial harmful applications

Manuela Oliveira*, Gabriella Mason-Buck, David Ballard, Wojciech Branicki, António Amorim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Microbial Forensics is a field that continues to grow in interest and application among the forensic community. This review, divided into two sections, covers several topics associated with this new field. The first section presents a historic overview concerning the use of microorganisms (or its product, i.e. toxins) as harmful biological agents in the context of biological warfare (biowarfare), bioterrorism, and biocrime. Each case is illustrated with the examination of case reports that span from prehistory to the present day. The second part of the manuscript is devoted to the role of MF and highlights the necessity to prepare for the pressing threat of the harmful use of biological agents as weapons. Preventative actions, developments within the field to ensure a timely and effective response and are discussed herein.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110366
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Biocrime
  • Bioterrorism
  • Biowarfare
  • Genetics
  • Microbial forensics


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