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The transferability of diatoms to clothing and the methods appropriate for their collection and analysis in forensic geoscience.

Scott, KR; Morgan, RM; Jones, VJ; Cameron, NG; (2014) The transferability of diatoms to clothing and the methods appropriate for their collection and analysis in forensic geoscience. Forensic Sci Int , 241C 127 - 137. 10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.05.011. Green open access

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Abstract

Forensic geoscience is concerned with the analysis of geological materials in order to compare and exclude environmental samples from a common source, or to identify an unknown provenance in a criminal investigation. Diatom analysis is currently an underused technique within the forensic geoscience approach, which has the potential to provide an independent ecological assessment of trace evidence. This study presents empirical data to provide a preliminary evidence base in order to be able to understand the nature of diatom transfers to items of clothing, and the collection of transferred diatom trace evidence from a range of environments under experimental conditions. Three diatom extraction methods were tested on clothing that had been in contact with soil and water sites: rinsing in water (RW), rinsing in ethanol (RE), and submersion in H2O2 solution (H). Scanning electron microscopy (S.E.M.) analysis was undertaken in order to examine the degree of diatom retention on treated clothing samples. The total diatom yield and species richness data was recorded from each experimental sample in order to compare the efficacy of each method in collecting a representative sample for analysis. Similarity was explored using correspondence analysis. The results highlight the efficiency of H2O2 submersion in consistently extracting high diatom counts with representative species from clothing exposed to both aquatic and terrestrial sites. This is corroborated by S.E.M. analysis. This paper provides an important empirical evidence base for both establishing that diatoms do indeed transfer to clothing under forensic conditions in a range of environments, and in identifying that H2O2 extraction is the most efficient technique for the optimal collection of comparative samples. There is therefore potentially great value in collecting and analysing diatom components of geoforensic samples in order to aid in forensic investigation.

Type: Article
Title: The transferability of diatoms to clothing and the methods appropriate for their collection and analysis in forensic geoscience.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.05.011
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.05.011
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
Keywords: Collection procedure, Diatoms, Forensic geoscience, Soil Collection procedure, Trace evidence, Transfer
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1433276
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