Abstract

Pollen evidence has proven to be a powerful forensic tool to trace a suspect or item to a victim or a crime scene. This is possible because it is microscopic, abundant in nature, resistant to degradation and decay; it presents dispersal patterns that can be used to generate a 'fingerprint' within specific areas, and has illustrated a unique morphology that can be used to classify species. While the pollen grain morphology has been extensively used to characterize the specific species, not much has been investigated as pertains to the coating that surrounds the pollen grain aside from it being categorized as waste. This Master thesis focuses on the qualitative and quantitative determination of the elemental composition of this coating surrounding pollen via Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). Two methodologies for sample preparation were compared: a complete digestion and analysis of (i) the entire pollen and (ii) the surrounding pollen coating alone removed from the pollen grain by Soxhlet extraction in ethanol. The goal was to discern the elemental composition of the coating and its specific elemental composition in comparison with the whole pollen grain. The results of both F-test and T-test performed for three pollen species indicated that, of the 19 elements investigated, B, Mg, Mn, K, Ti, and Cs resulted in significant differences between the whole grain and the coating alone; while Se, V, Pb, Cr, Al, and Zn can be recognized as being characteristic of the coating surrounding the pollen grain.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2018

Semester

Summer

Advisor

Baudelet, Matthieu

Degree

Master of Science (M.S.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Chemistry

Degree Program

Forensic Science

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0007261

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0007261

Language

English

Release Date

August 2019

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until August 2019; it will then be open access.

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