The analytical determination of the uniqueness and persistence of the volatile components of human scent using optimized collection methods

Allison Marsh Curran, Florida International University

Abstract

The Locard exchange principle proposes that a person can not enter or leave an area or come in contact with an object, without an exchange of materials. In the case of scent evidence, the suspect leaves his scent in the location of the crime scene itself or on objects found therein. Human scent evidence collected from a crime scene can be evaluated through the use of specially trained canines to determine an association between the evidence and a suspect. To date, there has been limited research as to the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which comprise human odor and their usefulness in distinguishing among individuals. For the purposes of this research, human scent is defined as the most abundant volatile organic compounds present in the headspace above collected odor samples. ^ An instrumental method has been created for the analysis of the VOCs present in human scent, and has been utilized for the optimization of materials used for the collection and storage of human scent evidence. This research project has identified the volatile organic compounds present in the headspace above collected scent samples from different individuals and various regions of the body, with the primary focus involving the armpit area and the palms of the hands. Human scent from the armpit area and palms of an individual sampled over time shows lower variation in the relative peak area ratio of the common compounds present than what is seen across a population. A comparison of the compounds present in human odor for an individual over time, and across a population has been conducted and demonstrates that it is possible to instrumentally differentiate individuals based on the volatile organic compounds above collected odor samples. ^

Subject Area

Chemistry, Analytical

Recommended Citation

Curran, Allison Marsh, "The analytical determination of the uniqueness and persistence of the volatile components of human scent using optimized collection methods" (2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3206020.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3206020

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