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Whizzed germs

Break pathogen cell walls and capsules down and kill people with them
  [vote for,

This is inspired by [ of ]'s poo cannon. I don't recommend that it's actually done, of course.

Take a few pathogens whose insides and outsides do the nasty or make people's bodies do the nasty to themselves. The usual kind of things, such as botulism, Listeria, cholera, and so on. Put them in a receptacle of some kind and proceed to break them down with ultrasonic zonking, as the technical term has it. Then introduce them to the people you want to kill as an aerosol. They will proceed to die of the kind of thing they usually die of as a result of having all the various bacterial infections, except they will suffer all of them at once and the substances will take effect faster because they're not neatly packaged inside organisms.

The "beauty" of this idea is that it might not even count as a biological or chemical weapon because it consists neither of microorganisms - they're all dead - nor of synthesised chemicals - they're all biochemical substances widespread in the environment. So i'm not even sure this is banned under international conventions.

I'm not saying do it, i'm just saying it would kill lots of people nastily and effectively.

nineteenthly, Feb 28 2012


       If this would circumvent the chemical and biological weapons bans, would it not be more elegant to spray an area with a suspension of ground-up castor beans? (I'm thinking ricin, not laxation.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 28 2012

       The funny thing about ricin is that there are a load of more poisonous biological compounds, but i take your point. It would depend on whether those compounds were in the bacteria.
nineteenthly, Feb 28 2012

       //The funny thing about ricin is that there are a load of more poisonous biological compounds// Can you provide a list?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 28 2012

       To port, or starboard?
normzone, Feb 28 2012

       Port please, especially if you're talking about wine.   

       So essentially you will not be giving the victims bacteria, only the toxins bacteria excrete, the toxins that make people feel bad when they have a bacterial infection like influenza. Seems it would be much more effective to give them the bacteria live.
Psalm_97, Feb 28 2012

       No, because a lot of the toxins are already there but not exposed to the outside.
nineteenthly, Feb 28 2012

       Tell someone who has the flu that the toxins are not exposed. Live influenza bacteria are much worse than dead, vitrified bacteria because live ones keep making toxin. You would need a lot of dead, vitrified bacteria to do any damage, and it would be a one-shot deal. In the meantime, live bacteria would just keep putting out toxins.   

       Anyone who has ever played an RPG knows that toxin or poison's advantage is damage over time. ;)
Psalm_97, Feb 28 2012

       I was referring to bacteria rather than viruses as on the whole viruses lack their own toxins.   

       [MB], i think there are good reasons why the others aren't mentioned and i'm not going to for the same reasons.
nineteenthly, Feb 28 2012

       Is this supposed to raise the status of herbalism?   

       Anyway, legalistic evasion of international conventions like the one against CBW seems pointless: Don't they derive what force they have from the condemnation of the international community, and the resulting probability of sanctions? In that situation, shirly it matters more how much you offend people than whether you violate the letter of the law. The trial of Charles II, and the Nuremburg trials were both illegal -- Clement Freud used to get quite huffy about the latter.   

       [edit] Oops, sorry, Charles I
mouseposture, Feb 28 2012

       //a bacterial infection like influenza// as [19thly] was too polite to point out, influenza is a viral infection.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 28 2012

       So, the idea is to isolate and purify Botulism toxin, and then inject it into people's lips as a cosmetic procedure?   

       Viral diseases (including influenza) don't tend to be toxin producers. Bacteria, such as the ones actually listed in the idea frequently are. That being said, the concept of utilizing microbiological toxins (botulism and penicillin are obvious examples) is baked and widely known to exist.
MechE, Feb 28 2012

       //good reasons why the others aren't mentioned and i'm not going to for the same reasons// Ah, go on - just a couple. You know [8th] will only start testing on cats otherwise.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 28 2012

       Nothing is going to raise the status of herbalism. It appears to be made of neutronium and reside at Earth's core.   

       Anyway, the origin of this idea is the sterilised riot control sewage, and the thought that trashing bacteria may make them more dangerous.
nineteenthly, Feb 28 2012

       Put it in a tube-like container and and some yellow paste-like dye. So instead of Cheez Whiz, there's Germ Whiz.
RayfordSteele, Feb 29 2012

       I'm not a biologist, so I don't know the details, but doesn't immunisation work along these lines?   

       Introduce dead microbes, or parts of microbes, to a body so that it can produce immune cells. These stay in the blood and neutralise the living microbes that can cause disease.   

       You might feel lousy for a while after being sprayed, but your immune system could get a boost from the target practice with dummy enemies.
Helixthecat, Feb 29 2012

       Don't we already use bacteria to synthesise other types of "chemicals"? Penicillin comes to mind.   

       We can also extract LSD from Hawaian Baby Woodrose seeds, but I don't think the local Constabulary would allow that as an excuse when we get busted
"Oh no officer, this isn't strictly a synthesised chemical, under the specifically technical sense that we have just chosen to adopt in lieu of any suitably long and exacting specification that might otherwise scupper our immediate plans and continued freedom; Thanks, but we're off the hook!"

       Similarly, I don't think the kind folks in Geneva would be particularly interested in the biased interpretation of what constitutes a biological or chemical agent in this instance - After all, Phosgene gas is made from just a bunch of perfectly naturally occuring elemental Carbon, Oxygen and Chlorine (presumably, under some clever circumstances, one might be able to get these ingredients to combine "naturally" into a deadly gas, perhaps, coincidentally, in a massive vat) one presumes that Phosgene is very much "on the list" in the banned gasses sense.   

       Is there something particularly special about "ultrasonic zonking" that makes it especially different to other extraction processes like grinding, swilling, heating, filtering, washing, titrating, etc?
zen_tom, Feb 29 2012

       //The funny thing about ricin is that there are a load of more poisonous biological compounds//   

       Ricin is really quite deadly when present inside the body; a single molecule may kill several cells. However, it's a protein, so if it's outside the body it is much less dangerous; it's not absorbed through unbroken skin.   

       Also from the wikipedia article, ricin is "several orders of magnitude less toxic than botulinum or tetanus toxin" - so there you go, Max.   

       (edited for clarity, with apologies to Alterother)
Loris, Feb 29 2012

       Unless your name happens to be Georgi Markov. A bit of ricin whizzed into him very rapidly, but it still took a few days to kill him.
Alterother, Feb 29 2012

       Yes, ricin is fairly innocuous, and the others are smaller and nothing like amino acids.   

       Concerning immunisation, that's true to some extent but not in the quantities i'm talking about. However, this is getting a bit close to an idea i had a while ago which i'm not going to post as it's too evil.
nineteenthly, Feb 29 2012

       // i'm not going to post as it's too evil.//   

       "I have a beautiful reproof, but sadly this morality is too small to contain it."
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 29 2012


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