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Soil Microbial Forensics

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  • Authors: Tasha M. Santiago-Rodriguez1,2, Raúl J. Cano3,4
  • Editors: Raúl J. Cano5, Gary A. Toranzos6
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology; 2: Center for Applications in Biotechnology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407; 3: Department of Biology; 4: Center for Applications in Biotechnology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407; 5: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA; 6: University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Source: microbiolspec July 2016 vol. 4 no. 4 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.EMF-0007-2015
  • Received 20 October 2015 Accepted 22 October 2015 Published 22 July 2016
  • Tasha M. Santiago-Rodriguez, [email protected]
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  • Abstract:

    Soil microbial forensics can be defined as the study of how microorganisms can be applied to forensic investigations. The field of soil microbial forensics is of increasing interest and applies techniques commonly used in diverse disciplines in order to identify microbes and determine their abundances, complexities, and interactions with soil and surrounding objects. Emerging new techniques are also providing insights into the complexity of microbes in soil. Soil may harbor unique microbes that may reflect specific physical and chemical characteristics indicating site specificity. While applications of some of these techniques in the field of soil microbial forensics are still in early stages, we are still gaining insight into how microorganisms may be more robustly used in forensic investigations.

  • Citation: Santiago-Rodriguez T, Cano R. 2016. Soil Microbial Forensics. Microbiol Spectrum 4(4):EMF-0007-2015. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.EMF-0007-2015.


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Soil microbial forensics can be defined as the study of how microorganisms can be applied to forensic investigations. The field of soil microbial forensics is of increasing interest and applies techniques commonly used in diverse disciplines in order to identify microbes and determine their abundances, complexities, and interactions with soil and surrounding objects. Emerging new techniques are also providing insights into the complexity of microbes in soil. Soil may harbor unique microbes that may reflect specific physical and chemical characteristics indicating site specificity. While applications of some of these techniques in the field of soil microbial forensics are still in early stages, we are still gaining insight into how microorganisms may be more robustly used in forensic investigations.

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