Volume 49, Issue 5 (September 2004)
Sub-sampling and Preparing Forensic Samples for Pollen Analysis?
The main forensic application of palynology is in providing associative evidence, assisting to prove or disprove a link between people and objects with places or with other people. Although identification and interpretation of pollen is a specialist job, sub-sampling and preparing pollen samples for analysis may be carried out by non-specialists. As few forensic laboratories have residing palynologists, laboratories may wish to reduce the cost of analysis or risk of contamination by doing their own sub-sampling and preparation. Presented is a practical guide for sub-sampling and preparing forensic samples for pollen analysis, providing a complete standard procedure for both the palynologist and non-specialist. Procedures for sub-sampling include a wide variety of materials commonly collected for forensic analysis (soil, clothing and other fabrics, footwear, twine and rope, firearms, granulated materials, plant and animal material, and illicit drugs), many of which palynologists will not be familiar with. Procedures for preparation of samples (pollen concentration) are presented as a detailed, step-by-step method. Minimizing the risks of laboratory and cross-sample contamination during sub-sampling and preparation is emphasized.