|Authors||McCulloch, G., Dawson, L.A., Brewer, M.J. and Morgan, R.M.|
|Publication details||Forensic Science International 272, 127-141.|
Soil is a highly transferable source of trace physical material that is both persistent in the environment and varied in composition. This inherent variability can provide useful information to determine the geographical origin of a questioned sample or when comparing and excluding samples, since the composition of soil is dependent on geographical factors such as climate, bedrock geology and land use. Previous studies have limited forensic relevance due to the requirement for large sample amounts and unrealistic differences between the land use and geographical location of the sample sites. In addition the philosophical differences between the disciplines of earth sciences, for which most analytical techniques have been designed, and forensic sciences, particularly with regard to sample preparation and data interpretation have not been fully considered. This study presents an enhanced technique for the analysis of organic components of geoforensic samples by improving the sample preparation and data analysis strategies used in previous research into the analysis of soil samples by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). This study provides two alternative sets of marker peaks to generate HPLC profiles which allow both easy visual comparison of samples and the correct assignment of 100% of the samples to their location of origin when discriminating between locations of interest in multivariate statistical analyses. This technique thereby offers an independent form of analysis that is complementary to inorganic geoforensic techniques and offers an easily accessible method for discriminating between close proximity forensically relevant locations.