Precursor (chemistry)

In chemistry, a precursor is a compound that participates in a chemical reaction that produces another compound.

In biochemistry, the term "precursor" often refers more specifically to a chemical compound preceding another in a metabolic pathway, such as a protein precursor.

Illicit drug precursors

In 1988, the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances introduced detailed provisions and requirements relating the control of precursors used to produce drugs of abuse.

In Europe the Regulation (EC) No. 273/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on drug precursors was adopted on 11 February 2004. (European law on drug precursors)

Illicit explosives precursors

On 15 January 2013 the Regulation (EU) No. 98/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the marketing and use of explosives precursors was adopted. The Regulation harmonises rules across Europe on the making available, introduction, possession and use, of certain substances or mixtures that could be misused for the illicit manufacture of explosives.[1]


A portable, advanced sensor based on infrared spectroscopy in a hollow fiber matched to a silicon-micromachined fast gas chromatography column can analyze illegal stimulants and precursors with nanogram-level sensitivity.[2]

Raman spectroscopy has been successfully tested to detect explosives and their precursors.[3]

Technologies able to detect precursors in the environment could contribute to an early location of sites where illegal substances (both explosives and drugs of abuse) are produced.[4][5][6]

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-13. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  2. S. Mengali, D. Luciani, R. Viola, N. Liberatore, S. Zampolli, I. Elmi, G. Cardinali, A. Poggi, E. Dalcanale, E. Biavardi, P. Esseiva, O. Delemont, F. Bonadio, and F.S. Romolo, Toward street detection of amphetamines Archived 2017-08-19 at the Wayback Machine.. SPIE Newsroom (2013).
  3. Trace detection of explosives and their precursors by surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy. S. Almaviva, S. Botti, L. Cantarini, A. Palucci, A. Puiu, A. Rufoloni, L. Landstrom, F.S. Romolo. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, Article number 854602, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence VIII; Edinburgh; United Kingdom (2012) Code 96354.
  4. Cloé Desmet, Agnes Degiuli, Carlotta Ferrari, Francesco Saverio Romolo, Loïc Blum and Christophe Marquette, Electrochemical Sensor for Explosives Precursors’ Detection in Water. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-13. Retrieved 2017-09-13. Challenges 8(1), 10; doi:10.3390/challe8010010 (2017).
  5. Carlotta Ferrari, Alessandro Ulrici and Francesco Saverio Romolo, Expert System for Bomb Factory Detection by Networks of Advance Sensors. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-13. Retrieved 2017-09-13. Challenges 8(1), 10; doi:10.3390/challe8010001 (2017).
  6. Francesco Saverio Romolo, Samantha Connell, Carlotta Ferrari, Guillaume Suarez, Jean Jacques Sauvain, Nancy Hopf. Locating bomb factories by detecting hydrogen peroxide. Talanta, Volume 160 15-20 doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2016.06.033. (2016).

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