Rapid discrimination of maggots utilising ATR-FTIR spectroscopy

Pickering, Clare, Hands, James, Fullwood, Leanne, Smith, Judith Alexis orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7826-6007 and Baker, Matthew (2015) Rapid discrimination of maggots utilising ATR-FTIR spectroscopy. Forensic Science International, 249 . pp. 189-196.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2015.01.036


Entomological evidence is used in forensic investigations to indicate time since death. The species and
age of maggots or flies that are present at the scene can be used when estimating how much time has
passed since death. Current methods that are used to identify species and developmental stage of larvae
and fly samples are highly subjective, costly and often time consuming processes and require the
expertise of an entomologist or species identification via DNA analysis. The use of vibrational
spectroscopy, as an alternative identification method, would allow for a quicker, cheaper and less
subjective technique and would allow entomological evidence to be used more commonly in the forensic
process. This proof of principle study shows the potential for using attenuated total reflection-Fourier
transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) as a rapid tool for differentiating between various species of
larvae, such as those commonly found at crime scenes. The proposed regime would provide a rapid and
valuable tool resulting in reduced time for both species identification and life cycle determination,
particularly in forensic situations.

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