Soil microbiome and forensics
Soil traces are easily transferred and carried by everyday items like shoes,
clothes, cars. The high sensitivity and analytical powers of modern molecular ecology
tools can make the enormous biological diversity found in soils a resource that forensics
investigations may benefit from. Our aims are to increase conceptual understanding of
microbial distribution in soils across short and long distances, soil types, seasons and
disturbances and apply this knowledge to forensics so that the soil microbiome becomes
part of the forensics toolbox.
Soils can be differentiated using very small samples. This differentiation
applies not only between but also to spots within the same soil type within a specific
location. However, local conditions are prominent over soil type to determine community
composition, thereby providing different indicators for different geographical scales
Habtom, H., Pasternak, Z., Matan, O., Azulay, C., Gafny, R., & Jurkevitch, E. Applying microbial biogeography in soil forensics. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 2019. 38: p. 195-203.
Pasternak, Z., Luchibia, A.O., Matan, O., Dawson, L., Gafny, R., Shpitzen, M., Avraham, S., and Jurkevitch, E. 2018. Mitigating temporal mismatches in forensic soil microbial profiles. Australian Journal of Forensics Sciences. 10.1080/00450618.2018.1450897.
Habtom, H., Demanèche, S., Dawson, L., Azulay, C., Matan O., Robe, P., Gafny, R., Simonet, P. Jurkevitch, E., and Pasternak, Z. 2017. Soil characterisation by bacterial community analysis for forensic applications: a quantitative comparison of environmental technologies. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 26: 21-29.