Looking for evidence on cadavers goes beyond what is visible; invisible traces can be sampled on the victim’s body but this happens rarely with environmental ones. Given the lack of related literature on this subject, the present study was devised to verify to what extent sampling on skin for SEM-EDX analysis can convey interesting data. In the first research stage, stubs were taken from the skin of six living subjects and their work environments. In the second stage, twenty-four well preserved cadavers recovered from known environments were sampled. The study has demonstrated the presence of ubiquitous chemical elements, constituting a kind of ‘background noise’. However, some characteristic elements have been identified: calcium and spores for the flower shop and the florist, calcium for the bakery and the baker, zinc for the foundry and the workman, and iron for the mechanic’s workshop and the mechanic, thus demonstrating some potential that justifies future studies. Our results have demonstrated how environmental traces may be detected on ‘clean’ skin, a useful tool to connect body and environment. Even if this research represents just a first pilot study, results seem promising toward the recognition of the potential evidential value of this ‘invisible’ part of cadavers.

SEM-EDX analysis of microscopic surface debris collected from the skin - preliminary study / G. Caccia, D. Mazzarelli, A. Amadasi, A. Rizzi, M. Caccianiga, C. Cattaneo. - In: THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC SCIENCES. - ISSN 1834-562X. - (2021). [Epub ahead of print]

SEM-EDX analysis of microscopic surface debris collected from the skin - preliminary study

G. Caccia
Primo
;
M. Caccianiga
Penultimo
;
C. Cattaneo
Ultimo
2021

Abstract

Looking for evidence on cadavers goes beyond what is visible; invisible traces can be sampled on the victim’s body but this happens rarely with environmental ones. Given the lack of related literature on this subject, the present study was devised to verify to what extent sampling on skin for SEM-EDX analysis can convey interesting data. In the first research stage, stubs were taken from the skin of six living subjects and their work environments. In the second stage, twenty-four well preserved cadavers recovered from known environments were sampled. The study has demonstrated the presence of ubiquitous chemical elements, constituting a kind of ‘background noise’. However, some characteristic elements have been identified: calcium and spores for the flower shop and the florist, calcium for the bakery and the baker, zinc for the foundry and the workman, and iron for the mechanic’s workshop and the mechanic, thus demonstrating some potential that justifies future studies. Our results have demonstrated how environmental traces may be detected on ‘clean’ skin, a useful tool to connect body and environment. Even if this research represents just a first pilot study, results seem promising toward the recognition of the potential evidential value of this ‘invisible’ part of cadavers.
Debris; skin; environmental traces; SEM-EDX; surface contamination
Settore MED/43 - Medicina Legale
mar-2021
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/834458
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