Application of stable isotope and trace element signatures to the provenance establishment of plant derived products of forensic significance

Tamara Pilgrim

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated abstract] The enormous increase in global trade, and increase in complexity of the international supply of plant based foodstuffs, during the 20th and 21st centuries has significantly increased the requirement for robust, scientifically based, and internationally recognised, protocols to be established to unambiguously trace and identify the origin of these materials. This is not only true for foodstuffs but scientifically based traceability protocols are also urgently required to monitor the ever increasing international trade in plant-based narcotics and "recreational" drugs of all types. There is a current need for scientifically based protocols to detect the precise origin of these recovered materials and thereby assist police forces in tracing drug routes and providing intelligence to assist in finding and destroying their production sites. Consequently, the modern forensic chemist is now being asked to provide information on the likelihood of two samples not only having the same point of origin but also to make scientifically based suggestions as to the likely origin of both samples. The primary objective of this thesis was to develop and validate methods that could be used for the determination of the origin of plant-derived products. While there is an endless array of methods and matrices that could be studied, this research focussed on the determination and application of trace element and stable isotope signatures, and subsequent statistical interpretation of data for the purpose of provenance determination and validation.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2010


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