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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • human scent collection;
  • fiber chemistries;
  • Scent Transfer Unit (STU-100);
  • contact and noncontact methods

Abstract:  The focus of this study is to compare contact and noncontact human scent collection procedures across an array of textiles (cotton, rayon, polyester, and wool) to determine an optimized collection method for human scent evidence. Six subjects were sampled in triplicate for each textile and collection mode, and the samples were then analyzed through headspace solid-phase micro-extraction in combination with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (SPME-GC/MS). Contact sampling with cotton material has been shown to be the collection method that yielded the greatest number of volatile compounds and the highest scent mass amounts. Through Spearman rank correlations, it was shown that an individual’s scent profile is more reproducible within samples collected on the same textile type than between different materials. Furthermore, contact sampling with cotton fabric demonstrated the greatest reproducibility producing the lowest amount of type I and type II errors with 90.85% of the samples distinguished at the 0.9 match/no match threshold.