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Can one find out if food was poisoned using typical resources found in a college chem lab?

Asked by ScottyMcGeester (1359 points ) March 28th, 2014

I’m writing a darkly humorous mystery where the premise is lab students solving mysteries/crimes at this college.

I’m starting to wonder if this is borderline unrealistic. Let’s say someone got poisoned or whatever eating a container of hummus. Can one take that to a typical chem lab in a college and find out if there’s a trace of some poison or toxin or whatever in the hummus?

I’m more of a biologist and not really a chemist. I know of things like HPLC and all that. But I can’t imagine how one would even begin to figure out how to take apart the hummus and study it for traces of poison.

If worse comes to worse, I can always just have the victim be poisoned through soda or something, which would make it a lot easier. But I just thought hummus was something funny.

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