Chemical Separations in Criminalistics

A special issue of Separations (ISSN 2297-8739). This special issue belongs to the section "Forensics/Toxins".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 February 2024) | Viewed by 7934

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, William & Mary, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23185-8795, USA
Interests: gas chromatography; multidimensional separations; comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography; instrumental analysis; forensic chemistry; forensic analysis; volatile organic compounds; odor chemistry; headspace sampling; biological samples
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, Canada
Interests: environmental forensics; environmental chemistry; air quality; contaminated land and groundwater

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Criminalistics is the field of forensic science that relies on the examination of physical evidence recovered from a crime scene. The analysis of physical evidence using separation science for forensic purposes can include drugs, explosives, fire debris, gunshot residue, DNA, ink, environmental matrices, food, and much more. As a result, separation techniques represent a benchmark for forensic laboratories around the globe, and results from chemical separations must be effectively presented and defended in a courtroom environment on a regular basis.

This Special Issue aims to celebrate exciting research occurring in forensic science that showcases the importance of separation science in building a just society. We welcome papers on the analysis of physical evidence by all separation methods, including but not limited to novel separations for criminalistics purposes, improvements in previously existing methods, new applications of gold standard separation technologies, and analyses involving new directions in forensic evidence analysis that rely on separation science. It is our pleasure to invite you to submit an original research article, short communication, or review to highlight chemical separations for criminalistics applications.

Dr. Katelynn A. Perrault
Dr. Gwen O'Sullivan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Separations is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • criminalistics
  • chromatography
  • physical evidence analysis
  • forensic chemistry

Published Papers (4 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

17 pages, 3012 KiB  
Article
Chemical Characterization of Human Body Odor Headspace Components
by A. Celeste Medrano, Ariela Cantu, Edgar O. Aviles-Rosa, Nathaniel J. Hall, Michele N. Maughan, Jenna D. Gadberry and Paola A. Prada-Tiedemann
Separations 2024, 11(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations11030085 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 2161
Abstract
This study focused on evaluating human body odor volatiles using a chamber approach. Ten participants were asked to sit inside the chamber for 1 h, while using SPME as the extraction technique for vapor sampling. A total of 105 compounds were detected across [...] Read more.
This study focused on evaluating human body odor volatiles using a chamber approach. Ten participants were asked to sit inside the chamber for 1 h, while using SPME as the extraction technique for vapor sampling. A total of 105 compounds were detected across participants, with nonanal having the highest frequency. PCA statistical analysis depicted tighter clustering in female whole-body odor profiles when compared to males, thus corroborating gender odor differences. Concurrently, various biospecimens (hand, axillary, breath) from the same participants allowed for a comparison between whole-body and individual biospecimen odor signatures. When comparing whole-body sampling and distinctive biospecimens, nonanal and decanal were the only odor volatiles shared. Statistical clustering depicted higher similarity within the odor profiles of individual biospecimens compared to odor profiles of the whole body, indicating distinctiveness of the odor chemical landscape as a function of sampling region. Overall, this study demonstrated that SPME-GC/MS methodology was successful in the extraction, detection, and identification of previously reported human scent volatiles when employing the human chamber for whole-body sampling. Our presented testing paradigm allows for a direct comparison of odor volatiles across the full body and specific body locations that allows odor markers to be furthered exploited for diagnostic and biological detection contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemical Separations in Criminalistics)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

16 pages, 3907 KiB  
Article
Identifying the Early Post-Mortem VOC Profile from Cadavers in a Morgue Environment Using Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography
by Darshil Patel, Rushali Dargan, Wesley S. Burr, Benoit Daoust and Shari Forbes
Separations 2023, 10(11), 566; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations10110566 - 10 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2140
Abstract
Understanding the VOC profile released during the early post-mortem period is essential for applications in training human remains detection dogs and urban search and rescue operations (USAR) to rapidly locate living and deceased victims. Human cadavers were sampled at the UQTR morgue within [...] Read more.
Understanding the VOC profile released during the early post-mortem period is essential for applications in training human remains detection dogs and urban search and rescue operations (USAR) to rapidly locate living and deceased victims. Human cadavers were sampled at the UQTR morgue within a 0–72 h post-mortem interval. VOC samples were collected from the headspace above the cadavers, using Tenax TA/Carbograph 5TD dual sorbent tubes, and analyzed using GC×GC-TOFMS. Multiple data processing steps, including peak table alignment and filtering, were undertaken using LECO ChromaToF and custom scripts in R programming language. This study identified 104 prevalent VOCs, some of which are linked to human decomposition, while others are connected to the persistence of living scent. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) further highlighted that VOC profiles can change dynamically over time, even in a controlled setting. The findings underscore the complexity and variability in VOC profiles during the early post-mortem period. This variability is influenced by multiple factors including the individual’s biological and physiological conditions. Despite the challenges in characterizing these profiles, the identified VOCs could potentially serve as markers in forensic applications. The study also highlights the need for additional research to build a dataset of VOCs for more robust forensic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemical Separations in Criminalistics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 2016 KiB  
Article
Cross-Contamination of Ignitable Liquid Residues on Wildfire Debris—Detection and Characterization in Matrices Commonly Encountered at Wildfire Scenes
by Nadin Boegelsack, James Walker, Court D. Sandau, Jonathan M. Withey, Dena W. McMartin and Gwen O'Sullivan
Separations 2023, 10(9), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations10090491 - 11 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1377
Abstract
Ignitable liquid residue (ILR) samples play an important role in fire investigations. Similar to other types of forensic evidence, maintaining sample integrity depends on the prevention of cross-contamination during both storage and transport. This study examines cross-contamination in ILR samples on various sample [...] Read more.
Ignitable liquid residue (ILR) samples play an important role in fire investigations. Similar to other types of forensic evidence, maintaining sample integrity depends on the prevention of cross-contamination during both storage and transport. This study examines cross-contamination in ILR samples on various sample matrices (gravel, soil, wood). After inducing leaks in a controlled environment, sample analysis by GC×GC-ToF MS allowed for sensitive detection and in-depth characterization of cross-contamination processes. The potential for false positive identification of ILR is notably present due to cross-contamination. Compound transmission for a mid-range ILR (gasoline), for instance, was detectable after a 1 h exposure, with a complete profile transfer occurring after 8 h regardless of the matrix type. Visual comparisons and uptake rate calculations further confirmed matrix interaction effects taking place in the form of inherent native compound interference and adsorbate–adsorbate interaction during transmission and extraction processes for soil and wood matrices. Chemometric analysis highlighted the advantage of employing statistical analysis when investigating samples under matrix interactions by identifying several statistically significant compounds for reliably differentiating cross-contamination from background and simulated positive samples in different volatility ranges and compound classes. Untargeted analysis tentatively identified three additional compounds of interest within compound classes not currently investigated in routine analysis. The resulting classification between background, contaminated, and simulated positive samples showed no potential for false positive ILR identification and improved false negative errors, as evidenced by classification confidences progressing from 88% for targeted and 93% for untargeted to 95% for a diagnostic ratio analysis of three ratios deployed in tandem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemical Separations in Criminalistics)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

15 pages, 1535 KiB  
Article
Sex Differentiation from Human Scent Chemical Analysis
by Petra Pojmanová, Nikola Ladislavová, Veronika Škeříková, Jaromír Kukal and Štěpán Urban
Separations 2023, 10(5), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations10050293 - 5 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1630
Abstract
Human scent traces are often the only pieces of evidence providing information about individuals that were present at a crime scene. In this study, the possibility of sex differentiation using detailed chemical analyses of human scent samples for forensic purposes is discussed. The [...] Read more.
Human scent traces are often the only pieces of evidence providing information about individuals that were present at a crime scene. In this study, the possibility of sex differentiation using detailed chemical analyses of human scent samples for forensic purposes is discussed. The human scent samples were analyzed through the use of headspace-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (HS-GC/MS). The results of these chemical analyses were evaluated using several data processing approaches (Linear Support Vector Machine, Quadratic Discriminant Analysis, and Ridge Regression), which were applied to distinguish between sexes from the human scent samples obtained from the palms of six volunteers for twelve weeks. This study indicates that sex differentiation based on the chemical analysis of human scent samples using HS-GC/MS is possible. The best results were obtained using the Ridge Regression with thresholding providing accuracy and a critical sensitivity of the sex differentiation of better than 91%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemical Separations in Criminalistics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop