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Creating a 3D Microbial and Chemical Snapshot of a Human Habitat

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2018
12 pages
Because one of the goals of forensic science is to identify individuals and their lifestyle by analyzing the trace signatures left behind in built environments, this study used microbiome and metabolomic methods to determine how its occupants used an office and also to gain insights into the lifestyle characteristics such as diet, medications, and personal-care products of the occupants.
Researchers used 3D molecular cartography, a molecular visualization technology, in combination with mass spectrometry and microbial inventories to highlight human-environmental interactions. Molecular signatures were correlated with the individuals, as well as their interactions with this indoor environment. There were person-specific chemical and microbial signatures associated with this environment that directly indicated who had touched objects such as computers, computer mice, cell phones, desk phone, table or desks. By combining molecular and microbial investigation forensic strategies, this study offers novel insights to investigators who value the reconstructing of human lifestyle and characterization of human environmental interaction. 5 figures and 44 references (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: February 1, 2018