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The Microscope - Volume 65, Second Quarter 2017


On the cover:
Drawings of the morphology of microscopic objects are usually a detailed interpretation of the sample and are sometimes more accurate than a single photomicrograph. They are valuable not only as records of what is being observed but also as a means of forcing the microscopist to carefully observe an object. Shown here are photomicrographs together with drawings from the research microscopist’s original notes for three microcrystal test precipitates of hydromorphone, l-ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine (top to bottom). See Editorial, page ii. (Photomicrographs and drawings used with permission of McCrone Research Institute.)

Editorial | Drug Microcrystal Tests Pass the Test of Time

Gary J. Laughlin
The Microscope 65 (2), p ii
Excerpt: Twenty-five years ago, Walter C. McCrone, founder of McCrone Research Institute and previous editor of The Microscope journal, published a paper titled “Microcrystal Tests and the ‘Frye Rule’” (The Microscope, 40:3, pp 193 – 198, 1992). His paper anticipated a challenge to the continued use of microcrystal tests and emphasized their importance in the forensic science community. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this rule — which originated from the case Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013, 1014 (D.C. Cir. 1923) — it states that methods used to support a court appearance must be technically sound as recognized generally in the forensic science community. Dr. McCrone predicted that microcrystal tests, although used for more than a century, were generally regarded as subjective. His solution to any potential Frye Rule challenge was through better microscopical and crystallographic characterization of the resulting precipitates and proper training to become proficient in testing methods.

Microcrystal Tests for the Identification of Illicit Drugs:
1-Benzylpiperazine (BZP), Clonazepam, Codeine, Diazepam, and

Kelly M. Brinsko, M.S.; Dean Golemis, B.A.; Meggan B. King, B.S.; Gary J. Laughlin, Ph.D.; and Sebastian B. Sparenga, M.S.
The Microscope 65 (2), pp 51 – 84
Excerpt: The Microscope is publishing monographs from McCrone Research Institute’s A Modern Compendium of Microcrystal Tests for Illicit Drugs and Diverted Pharmaceuticals, which contains 19 different drugs and their microcrystal test reagents. This installment includes monographs for the following drugs/reagents:
• 1-benzylpiperazine (BZP)/platinum bromide
• clonazepam/platinum chloride
• codeine/Marme’s
• codeine/Fulton’s O-2
• codeine/Fulton’s C-3
• diazepam/platinum chloride
• diazepam/ammonium thiocyanate
l-ephedrine/gold bromide
l-ephedrine/gold chloride

Crtical Focus | Tomorrow’s Germs Threaten Today’s Lifestyles

Brian J. Ford
The Microscope 65 (2), pp 85 – 94,
Excerpt: “We had an outbreak,” said the catering manager, “so when guests collect a bread roll in the future, they will have to use tongs.” And so he condemned hundreds of healthy people to risk infection that might previously have been confined to just one person, or two at most. We are living in an age of new hazards to health, yet society is not keeping up with the trends. We use yesterday’s methods to address tomorrow’s problems. New infections are waiting to pounce; people aren’t prepared, and nobody seems to mind. The use of tongs is a typical example. The rationale is clear. If you handle food while you’re infected, there is always the risk of passing on the germs to somebody else. But leaving tongs lying around for everybody to use does not prevent outbreaks — it causes them. Tongs are a dangerous source of cross-infection.

Correction | The Discrimination of Pencil Marks on Paper in Forensic Investigations

The article, “The Discrimination of Pencil Marks on Paper in Forensic Investigations,” published in The Microscope_  Volume 65, First Quarter 2017, has the wrong image of the “completed and ready Duro-Tak ball” for Figure 2 on page 14. The correct Figure 2 image is included below with related images. _The Microscope regrets the error.

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