(Received 28 September 1985; accepted 22 November 1985)
Published Online: July
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A morphological analysis of opal phytoliths in soils was applied to forensic science soil discrimination. To examine a variation of opal phytolith composition with a difference of land use or topography, a region was chosen in a range of 5 km covering from diluvial plateau to alluvial plain. Opal phytolith compositions in soil samples collected from the same site were similar. On the other hand, there were obvious differences in the compositions between soils from different sites. In the region examined, contents of Chloridoid, Bambusoid, Fan-shape, and Elongate classes varied with sampling sites allowing us to discriminate the samples from different sites. Festucoid and Point-shape class were small in the amounts to be compared for the soil discrimination. Morphological analysis of opal phytoliths was effective to discriminate soil samples that came from different land use, even though they were indistinguishable by their mineralogical characteristics. About 2 mg of opal phytolith fraction, 10 to 200 µm in diameter, less than 2.3 in specific gravity, was a sufficient amount for the morphological analysis.
Forensic chemist, Scientific Investigation Research Laboratory, Yamaguchi Prefectural Police Headquarters, Yamaguchi,
Forensic chemist, Second Chemical Laboratory, National Research Institute of Police Science, Tokyo,
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