A preliminary investigation into the use of testate amoebae for the discrimination of forensic soil samples

Graeme T. Swindles, Alastair Ruffell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present the results of an initial investigation into the efficacy of using testate amoebae for the discrimination of soils from wet ground and puddles, as little attention has been given to these organisms in forensic science. The preservation of testate amoebae in these sediments is generally good, although test concentrations are low. Statistical analysis suggests that restate amoebae assemblages are somewhat spatially distinct and have potential to be used for soil discrimination. A case study is presented where mineralogical (X-ray diffraction) and restate amoebae analyses are used in conjunction to clarify the scene of crime in a 'cold case' murder enquiry. Testate amoebae were recovered from dried sediment residues on clothing 10 years after the murder. Despite these promising results, further experimental work is crucial to examine the spatial and temporal variation of amoebae assemblages in water films, wet ground and puddles before they can be added to the armoury of methods available to the forensic biologist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-190
Number of pages9
JournalScience and Justice
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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