Thermo Finnigan Instruments Ensure Integrity of Olympic Athletes

Thermo Finnigan, a Thermo Electron business, provided the instruments used at the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, to screen athletes for use of performance-enhancing steroids and other substances banned by the International Olympic Committee. The UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory used Thermo Finnigan instruments to test samples from 800 athletes and enlisted the expertise of Thermo Finnigan engineers for the 17-day event. This is the fourth such appearance of Thermo Finnigan instruments at the Olympics since their first use at the Lillehammer Winter Olympic Games in 1994.

Some athletes use anabolic steroids and synthetic hormones to gain an edge over their competitors. Steroids enhance muscle strength, decrease body fat, hasten recovery time and increase athletic performance. Synthetic hormones are testosterone precursors that promote an increase in testosterone levels in the athlete's body. Mass spectrometry has been the key tool for testing athletes for the use of performance-enhancing drugs for decades - Thermo Finnigan is the chosen supplier of these instruments due to their outstanding reputation and performance.

Thermo Finnigan MAT 95 XL high-resolution mass spectrometers screened athlete-supplied specimens for the presence of anabolic steroids. Compounds extracted from urine samples are screened at medium instrument resolution to determine each compound's specific mass-to-charge ratio. When a substance is found with a mass-to-charge ratio matching that of one of the forbidden substances, a full spectral scan is performed on the sample at high resolution to confirm the result. The presence of any flagged substance in the sample potentially disqualifies the athlete from competition. Thermo Finnigan DELTAplus instruments determined whether an athlete's elevated testosterone levels were natural or due to the presence of soy-based hormones. Synthetic hormones have a telltale Carbon 13 to Carbon 12 ratio - lower than the carbon ratio of an athlete's naturally occurring hormones.

The MAT 95 XL and DELTAplus instruments are manufactured at the Thermo Finnigan Advanced Products Division located in Bremen, Germany.

Quelle: Thermo Finnigan