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Books

Biber, K. & Luker, T. 2017, Evidence and the Archive: Ethics, Aesthetics and Emotion, Routledge.

Chapters

Biber, K. 2017, 'The Cultural Afterlife of Criminal Evidence' in Rafter, N. & Brown, M. (eds), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 1-20.
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This article explores what happens to criminal evidence after the conclusion of legal proceedings, described here as the afterlife of evidence. The text investigates the ways that this material proliferates in the shadow of the law, in both cultural and commercial contexts. During the criminal trial, the rules of evidence and criminal procedure operate to tightly regulate the collection, admissibility, and interpretation of evidence. After the criminal trial, these rules no longer control evidence, and this material is sometimes subject to the substantial cultural curiosity associated with true crime and its artifacts. This article sets out some of the new questions that are posed by this material when it is transferred beyond the law’s control.

Stuart, B.H. & Ueland, M. 2017, 'Decomposition in Aquatic Environments' in Taphonomy of Human Remains Forensic Analysis of the Dead and the Depositional Environment, John Wiley & Sons.
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A truly interdisciplinary approach to this core subject within Forensic Science Combines essential theory with practical crime scene work Includes case studies Applicable to all time periods so has relevance for conventional archaeology, ...

Stuart, B.H. & Ueland, M. 2017, 'Degradation of Clothing in Depositional Environments' in Taphonomy of Human Remains Forensic Analysis of the Dead and the Depositional Environment, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 120-133.
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A truly interdisciplinary approach to this core subject within Forensic Science Combines essential theory with practical crime scene work Includes case studies Applicable to all time periods so has relevance for conventional archaeology, ...

Journal articles

Agius, A., Jones, K., Epple, R., Morelato, M., Moret, S., Chadwick, S. & Roux, C. 2017, 'The use of handwriting examinations beyond the traditional court purpose', Science & Justice.

Benson, N., Dos Santos, R.O., Griffiths, K., Cole, N., Doble, P., Roux, C. & Blanes, L. 2017, 'The development of a stabbing machine for forensic textile damage analysis.', Forensic Science International, vol. 273, pp. 132-139.
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This article describes the development of a horizontal stabbing machine with an interchangeable knife holder to simulate stab events. The machine consists of a motorised arm with a pneumatic system designed to deliver 60 unique stabbing positions. The mechanics were robust and the positioning system highly reproducible with standard deviations of less than 1.0mm in the x-axis and 2.3mm in the y-axis for a given stab position. The force of the instrument may be varied by the operator to a maximum of approximately 221N. The suitability of the instrument for simulating stab events was evaluated by measuring the severance length and textile damage from stab delivered from four different knives and nine penetrating angles.

Biber, K. 2017, 'Evidence in the museum: Curating a miscarriage of justice', Theoretical Criminology, pp. 1-18.
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After the conclusion of criminal proceedings, criminal evidence sometimes survives in what is described here as an afterlife. In its afterlife, criminal evidence is preserved in various locations; this article explores the museum as a repository for evidentiary exhibits. It examines the case of Lindy Chamberlain, the victim of Australia’s most notorious miscarriage of justice, and the evidence that has survived since her exoneration. Drawing upon interviews with Chamberlain herself, and also the curator of the Chamberlain collections at the National Museum of Australia, this article examines the challenges posed by curating a wrongful conviction.

Bishop, D.P., Blanes, L., Wilson, A.B., Wilbanks, T., Killeen, K., Grimm, R., Wenzel, R., Major, D., Macka, M., Clarke, D., Schmid, R., Cole, N. & Doble, P.A. 2017, 'Microfluidic high performance liquid chromatography-chip hyphenation to inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry', Journal of Chromatography A, vol. 149, pp. 64-69.
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V.The Agilent Chip Cube Interface is a microfluidic chip-based technology originally designed for nanospray molecular mass spectrometry in which the sample enrichment, nano-column, tubing, connectors and spray tip were integrated into a single biocompatible chip. Here we describe the hyphenation of the Chip Cube Interface to ICP-MS via modification of the standard HPLC chip design and a new total consumption nebuliser suitable for flow rates as low as 300nLmin-1. The potential of the instrument to eliminate common nanoLC - ICP-MS shortcomings such as leaks, blockages and band-broadening was demonstrated via analysis of cyanocobalamin in equine plasma. The method was linear over three orders of magnitude with an r2 of 0.9999, the peak area repeatability was 1.9% (n=7), and the detection limit was 14ngmL-1. This novel configuration of the Chip Cube Interface coupled to ICP-MS is a suitable platform for the analysis of biomolecules associated with trace metals and speciation applications.

Carroll, L., Pattison, D.I., Fu, S., Schiesser, C.H., Davies, M.J. & Hawkins, C.L. 2017, 'Catalytic oxidant scavenging by selenium-containing compounds: Reduction of selenoxides and N-chloramines by thiols and redox enzymes.', Redox Biol, vol. 12, pp. 872-882.
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Myeloperoxidase produces strong oxidants during the immune response to destroy invading pathogens. However, these oxidants can also cause tissue damage, which contributes to the development of numerous inflammatory diseases. Selenium containing compounds, including selenomethionine (SeMet) and 1,4-anhydro-5-seleno-D-talitol (SeTal), react rapidly with different MPO-derived oxidants to form the respective selenoxides (SeMetO and SeTalO). This study investigates the susceptibility of these selenoxides to undergo reduction back to the parent compounds by intracellular reducing systems, including glutathione (GSH) and the glutathione reductase and thioredoxin reductase systems. GSH is shown to reduce SeMetO and SeTalO, with consequent formation of GSSG with apparent second order rate constants, k2, in the range 10(3)-10(4)M(-1)s(-1). Glutathione reductase reduces both SeMetO and SeTalO at the expense of NADPH via formation of GSSG, whereas thioredoxin reductase acts only on SeMetO. The presence of SeMet and SeTal also increased the rate at which NADPH was consumed by the glutathione reductase system in the presence of N-chloramines. In contrast, the presence of SeMet and SeTal reduced the rate of NADPH consumption by the thioredoxin reductase system after addition of N-chloramines, consistent with the rapid formation of selenoxides, but only slow reduction by thioredoxin reductase. These results support a potential role of seleno compounds to act as catalytic scavengers of MPO-derived oxidants, particularly in the presence of glutathione reductase and NADPH, assuming that sufficient plasma levels of the parent selenoether can be achieved in vivo following supplementation.

Chadwick, S., Neskoski, M., Spindler, X., Lennard, C. & Roux, C. 2017, 'Effect of hand sanitizer on the performance of fingermark detection techniques.', Forensic Sci Int, vol. 273, pp. 153-160.
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Hand sanitizers have seen a rapid increase in popularity amongst the general population and this increased use has led to the belief that hand sanitizers may have an effect on subsequent fingermark detection. Based on this hypothesis, three alcoholic and two non-alcoholic hand sanitizers were evaluated to determine the effect they had on the detection of fingermarks deposited after their use. The following fingermark detection methods were applied: 1,2-indanedione-zinc, ninhydrin, physical developer (porous substrate); and cyanoacrylate, rhodamine 6G, magnetic powder (non-porous substrate). Comparison between hand sanitized fingermarks and non-hand sanitized fingermarks showed that the alcohol-based hand sanitizers did not result in any visible differences in fingermark quality. The non-alcoholic hand sanitizers, however, improved the quality of fingermarks developed with 1,2-indanedione-zinc and ninhydrin, and marginally improved those developed with magnetic powder. Different parameters, including time since hand sanitizer application prior to fingermark deposition and age of deposited mark, were tested to determine the longevity of increased development quality. The non-alcoholic hand sanitized marks showed no decrease in quality when aged for up to two weeks. The time since sanitizer application was determined to be an important factor that affected the quality of non-alcoholic hand sanitized fingermarks. It was hypothesized that the active ingredient in non-alcoholic hand sanitizers, benzalkonium chloride, is responsible for the increase in fingermark development quality observed with amino acid reagents, while the increased moisture content present on the ridges resulted in better powdered fingermarks.

Chua, L., Head, K., Thomas, P. & Stuart, B. 2017, 'FTIR and Raman microscopy of organic binders and extraneous organic materials on painted ceremonial objects from the Highlands of Papua New Guinea', Microchemical Journal, vol. 134, pp. 246-256.
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Colusso, A.C., Cortie, M.B., Dowd, A. & McDonagh, A.M. 2017, 'Thermal stability of mesoscopic compounds of cetyltrimethylammonium and Keggin metatungstates.', Dalton Trans.
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A hybrid surfactant/polyoxometalate compound was synthesized by combining isopolytungstate anions with the cationic surfactant cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTA-Br) to produce a hierarchical compound that we identify as (CTA)7[H2W12O40]Cl·2H2O. At room temperature the compound consisted of hexagonally ordered sheets of Keggin ions, with an intervening gallery containing alkyl-chains of the organic cations. The synthesis was highly dependent on solution pH, reaction time and the order in which the reactants were added. We examined the effect of temperature on the stability of (CTA)7[H2W12O40]Cl·2H2O using thermal gravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, FT-IR spectroscopy and in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction, and found a step-wise conversion to monoclinic WOxvia a series of intermediates. Heating under nitrogen atmospheres accelerated transition events by ∼100 °C when compared to heating in air. During heating, the interplanar gallery at first expanded in a series of steps starting at 90 °C as the CTA(+) amphiphiles changed orientation, before collapsing rapidly at 240 °C, a temperature coinciding with the removal of about 40% of the organic material. Between 240 and 320 °C, the material consisted of fragments of the Keggin ion cores, arranged in 2D hexagonally-packed sheets. At ∼330 °C, the Keggin ions were completely destroyed and replaced by bulk W17O47 which, upon further heating, transformed to bulk WO2 or WO3 depending on the environment.

Devièse, T., Ribechini, E., Castex, D., Stuart, B., Regert, M. & Colombini, M.P. 2017, 'A multi-analytical approach using FTIR, GC/MS and Py-GC/MS revealed early evidence of embalming practices in Roman catacombs', Microchemical Journal, vol. 133, pp. 49-59.
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Finkelstein, D.I., Billings, J.L., Adlard, P.A., Ayton, S., Sedjahtera, A., Masters, C.L., Wilkins, S., Shackleford, D.M., Charman, S.A., Bal, W., Zawisza, I.A., Kurowska, E., Gundlach, A.L., Ma, S., Bush, A.I., Hare, D.J., Doble, P.A., Crawford, S., Gautier, E.C., Parsons, J., Huggins, P., Barnham, K.J. & Cherny, R.A. 2017, 'The novel compound PBT434 prevents iron mediated neurodegeneration and alpha-synuclein toxicity in multiple models of Parkinson's disease.', Acta Neuropathologica Communications, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 53-53.
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Elevated iron in the SNpc may play a key role in Parkinson's disease (PD) neurodegeneration since drug candidates with high iron affinity rescue PD animal models, and one candidate, deferirpone, has shown efficacy recently in a phase two clinical trial. However, strong iron chelators may perturb essential iron metabolism, and it is not yet known whether the damage associated with iron is mediated by a tightly bound (eg ferritin) or lower-affinity, labile, iron pool. Here we report the preclinical characterization of PBT434, a novel quinazolinone compound bearing a moderate affinity metal-binding motif, which is in development for Parkinsonian conditions. In vitro, PBT434 was far less potent than deferiprone or deferoxamine at lowering cellular iron levels, yet was found to inhibit iron-mediated redox activity and iron-mediated aggregation of α-synuclein, a protein that aggregates in the neuropathology. In vivo, PBT434 did not deplete tissue iron stores in normal rodents, yet prevented loss of substantia nigra pars compacta neurons (SNpc), lowered nigral α-synuclein accumulation, and rescued motor performance in mice exposed to the Parkinsonian toxins 6-OHDA and MPTP, and in a transgenic animal model (hA53T α-synuclein) of PD. These improvements were associated with reduced markers of oxidative damage, and increased levels of ferroportin (an iron exporter) and DJ-1. We conclude that compounds designed to target a pool of pathological iron that is not held in high-affinity complexes in the tissue can maintain the survival of SNpc neurons and could be disease-modifying in PD.

Hare, D.J., Kysenius, K., Paul, B., Knauer, B., Hutchinson, R.W., O'Connor, C., Fryer, F., Hennessey, T.P., Bush, A.I., Crouch, P.J. & Doble, P.A. 2017, 'Imaging Metals in Brain Tissue by Laser Ablation - Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS).', Journal of Visualized Experiments, no. 119, pp. 1-8.
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Metals are found ubiquitously throughout an organism, with their biological role dictated by both their chemical reactivity and abundance within a specific anatomical region. Within the brain, metals have a highly compartmentalized distribution, depending on the primary function they play within the central nervous system. Imaging the spatial distribution of metals has provided unique insight into the biochemical architecture of the brain, allowing direct correlation between neuroanatomical regions and their known function with regard to metal-dependent processes. In addition, several age-related neurological disorders feature disrupted metal homeostasis, which is often confined to small regions of the brain that are otherwise difficult to analyze. Here, we describe a comprehensive method for quantitatively imaging metals in the mouse brain, using laser ablation - inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and specially designed image processing software. Focusing on iron, copper and zinc, which are three of the most abundant and disease-relevant metals within the brain, we describe the essential steps in sample preparation, analysis, quantitative measurements and image processing to produce maps of metal distribution within the low micrometer resolution range. This technique, applicable to any cut tissue section, is capable of demonstrating the highly variable distribution of metals within an organ or system, and can be used to identify changes in metal homeostasis and absolute levels within fine anatomical structures.

Heather, E., Bortz, A., Shimmon, R. & McDonagh, A.M. 2017, 'Organic impurity profiling of methylone and intermediate compounds synthesized from catechol.', Drug Test Anal, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 436-445.
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This work examined the synthesis and organic impurity profile of methylone prepared from catechol. The primary aim of this work was to determine whether the synthetic pathway used to prepare 3,4-methylenedioxypropiophenone could be ascertained through analysis of the synthesized methylone. The secondary aim was the structural elucidation and origin determination of the organic impurities detected in methylone and the intermediate compounds. The organic impurities present in the reaction products were identified using GC-MS and NMR spectroscopy. Six organic impurities were detected in 1,3-benzodioxole and identified as the 1,3-benzodioxole dimer, 1,3-benzodioxole trimer, [1,3] dioxolo[4,5-b]oxanthrene, 4,4'-, 4,5'-, and 5,5'-methylenebis-1,3-benzodioxole. Six organic impurities were detected in 3,4-methylenedioxypropiophenone and identified as (2-hydroxyphenyl) propanoate, [2-(chloromethoxy) phenyl] propanoate, (2-propanoyloxyphenyl)propanoate, 5-[1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)prop-1-enyl]-1,3-benzodioxole, (5E)- and (5Z)-7-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-5-ethylidene-6-methyl-cyclopenta[f][1,3]benzodioxole). Exploratory synthetic experiments were also conducted to unambiguously identify the organic impurities detected in 3,4-methylenedioxypropiophenone. Two organic impurities were detected in 5-bromo-3,4-methylenedioxypropiophenone and identified as [2-(chloromethoxy)phenyl] propanoate and 3,4-methylenedioxypropiophenone. Five organic impurities were detected in methylone and identified as 3,4-methylenedioxypropiophenone, 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-N-methyl-propan-1-imine, 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-methylimino-propan-1-one, 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-N1,N2-dimethyl-propane-1,2-diimine and butylated hydroxytoluene. The origin of these organic impurities was also ascertained, providing valuable insight into the chemical profiles of methylone and the intermediate compounds. However, neither the catechol precursor nor the 1,3-benzodioxole intermediate could be identified based on the ...

Hofstetter, C., Maitre, M., Beavis, A., Roux, C.P., Weyermann, C. & Gassner, A.-.L. 2017, 'A study of transfer and prevalence of organic gunshot residues.', Forensic Science International, vol. 277, pp. 241-251.
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The main goal of the present study was to determine the amounts and distribution of organic gunshot residues (OGSR) on the shooter's upper body and clothing after discharging a pistol. A preliminary study was also performed to evaluate the prevalence of OGSR in the general population as well as in a police laboratory environment. In the transfer study, results indicated that OGSR are not only transferred to the hand of the shooter, but also to other parts of the upper body. Thus, wrists and forearms also represent interesting targets as they are washed less frequently than hands. Samples from the face and hair of the shooters resulted in no OGSR detection just after firing. It was also observed that the concentrations recovered from clothing are generally higher compared to the same skin area. Prevalence in both general (n=27) and police populations (n=25) was low. No OGSR was detected in the samples from the general population and only two samples from the police population were found positive.

Iqbal, M.A., Nizio, K.D., Ueland, M. & Forbes, S.L. 2017, 'Forensic decomposition odour profiling: A review of experimental designs and analytical techniques', TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, vol. 91, pp. 112-124.
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. The complex process of cadaveric decomposition releases diverse volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as by-products. These VOCs are significant in forensic science as the odour they comprise can be tracked by trained canines when searching for human remains in cases of missing persons, homicide, or mass disaster. Although this is an emerging area of research, numerous studies have been conducted to form a greater understanding of decomposition odour and its range of applications. While some of these studies are conducted in laboratories, most are conducted at specialised field sites (e.g., forensic, archaeological, taphonomic, search and rescue training facilities). This paper reviews these studies to provide a critical overview of the experimental approaches and analytical techniques used in decomposition odour analysis. Discussion covers the outcomes of these studies, their contribution to the field, and future directions, particularly the advances in analytical instrumentation currently being employed to provide a comprehensive decomposition odour profile.

King, S.R., Shimmon, S., Totonjian, D.D. & McDonagh, A.M. 2017, 'Influence of Bound versus Non-Bound Stabilizing Molecules on the Thermal Stability of Gold Nanoparticles', JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, vol. 121, no. 25, pp. 13944-13951.
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Lee, R., Comber, B., Abraham, J., Wagner, M., Lennard, C., Spindler, X. & Roux, C. 2017, 'Supporting fingerprint identification assessments using a skin stretch model - A preliminary study.', Forensic Sci Int, vol. 272, pp. 41-49.
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To support fingerprint expert opinion, this research proposes an approach that combines subjective human analysis (as currently applied by fingerprint practitioners) with a statistical test of the result. This approach relies on the hypothesis that there are limits to the distortion caused by skin stretch. Such limits can be modelled by applying a multivariate normal probability density function to the distances and angle formed by a marked ridge characteristic and the two closest neighbouring minutiae. This study presents a model tested on 5 donors in total. The "expected range" of distortion in a within-source comparison using 10 minutiae was determined and compared to between-source comparisons. The expected range of log probability densities for within-source comparisons marked with 10 minutiae was determined to be from -33.4 to -60.0, with all between-source data falling outside this range, between -83 and -305. These results suggest that the proposed generated metric could be a powerful tool for the assessment of fingerprint expert opinion in operational casework.

Macha, I.J., Cazalbou, S., Shimmon, R., Ben-Nissan, B. & Milthorpe, B. 2017, 'Development and dissolution studies of bisphosphonate (clodronate)-containing hydroxyapatite-polylactic acid biocomposites for slow drug delivery.', Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 1723-1731.
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An increase in clinical demand on the controlled release of bisphosphonates (BPs) due to complications associated with systemic administration, has been the current driving force on the development of BP drug-release systems. Bisphosphonates have the ability to bind to divalent metal ions, such as Ca(2+) , in bone mineral and prevent bone resorption by influencing the apoptosis of osteoclasts. Localized delivery using biodegradable materials, such as polylactic acid (PLA) and hydroxyapatite (HAp), which are ideal in this approach, have been used in this study to investigate the dissolution of clodronate (non-nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate) in a new release system. The effects of coral structure-derived HAp and the release kinetics of the composites were evaluated. The release kinetics of clodronate from PLA-BP and PLA-HAp-BP systems seemed to follow the power law model described by Korsmeyer-Peppas. Drug release was quantified by (31) P-NMR with detection and quantification limits of 9.2 and 30.7 mM, respectively. The results suggest that these biocomposite systems could be tuned to release clodronate for both relatively short and prolonged period of time. In addition to drug delivery, the degradation of HAp supplies both Ca(2+) and phosphate ions that can help in bone mineralization. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Maitre, M., Kirkbride, K.P., Horder, M., Roux, C. & Beavis, A. 2017, 'Current perspectives in the interpretation of gunshot residues in forensic science: A review.', Forensic Sci Int, vol. 270, pp. 1-11.
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The traces produced when a firearm is discharged can provide important information in cases when questions regarding a possible association of the firearm with a person of interest (POI), time since discharge or shooting distance are raised. With advances in technology, the forensic challenges presented by these traces, known as gunshot residues (GSR), are moving from the analytical domain to the interpretation of the analytical results. Different interpretation frameworks are currently competing. Formal classification of particles, using standards such as that produced by ASTM, focusses only on evaluation of evidence at the sub-source level. Another approach, based on the application of Bayesian reasoning - namely the case-by-case approach - has been proposed that allows evaluation of evidence in regards to activity-related questions. This alternative approach allows an evaluation of the evidence that is more closely aligned to judicial and investigative aims. This paper critically presents the state of the art in regards to GSR interpretation in a holistic manner.

Michelot, H., Fu, S., Stuart, B., Shimmon, R., Raymond, T., Crandell, T. & Roux, C. 2017, 'Effect of drug precursors and chemicals relevant to clandestine laboratory investigation on plastic bags used for collection and storage.', Forensic Sci Int, vol. 273, pp. 106-112.
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In the area of clandestine laboratory investigations, plastic bags are used to collect and store evidence, such as solvents, precursors, and other compounds usually employed for the manufacturing of drugs (although liquids may be stored in glass containers within the bags first). In this study, three different types of plastic bags were provided by the NSW Police Force and investigated for their suitability for evidence collection: two different types of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bags and one type of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) bag. Three different experiments were carried out: (1) storing relevant chemicals in the bags for up to three months; (2) exposing the bags including their content to accelerated conditions using a weatherometer, and (3) simulating an expected real case scenario. This study indicates that drugs and related chemicals stored in plastic bags may lead to a change in the composition of the chemical and an alteration or degradation of the plastic bag. All experiments led to the same conclusion: the polyvinyl chloride bags appeared to be the most affected. LDPE bags seem to be more appropriate for routine use, although it has been established they are not suitable for the collection of liquids (unless pre-packaged in, for instance, a glass container).

Morelato, M., Barash, M., Blanes, L., Chadwick, S., Dilag, J., Kuzhiumparambil, U., Nizio, K.D., Spindler, X. & Moret, S. 2017, 'Forensic Science: Current State and Perspective by a Group of Early Career Researchers', Foundations of Science, pp. 1-27.
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Forensic science and its influence on policing and the criminal justice system have increased since the beginning of the twentieth century. While the philosophies of the forensic science pioneers remain the pillar of modern practice, rapid advances in technology and the underpinning sciences have seen an explosion in the number of disciplines and tools. Consequently, the way in which we exploit and interpret the remnant of criminal activity are adapting to this changing environment. In order to best exploit the trace, an interdisciplinary approach to both research and investigation is required. In this paper, nine postdoctoral research fellows from a multidisciplinary team discuss their vision for the future of forensic science at the crime scene, in the laboratory and beyond. This paper does not pretend to be exhaustive of all fields of forensic science, but describes a portion of the postdoctoral fellows’ interests and skills.

Nizio, K.D., Ueland, M., Stuart, B.H. & Forbes, S.L. 2017, 'The analysis of textiles associated with decomposing remains as a natural training aid for cadaver-detection dogs', Forensic Chemistry, vol. 5, pp. 33-45.
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Cadaver-detection dogs are employed by law enforcement agencies to locate human remains in cases of missing persons, suspected homicides and following natural or man-made disasters. The ability of cadaver-detection dogs to locate human remains relies heavily on the use of effective and reliable training aids. Cadaver-detection dogs may be trained using a variety of materials ranging from natural scent sources (e.g. flesh, bone, blood or decomposition soil) to synthetic materials (e.g. Pseudo™ Scents). Commercially available synthetic scents often have an overly simplistic chemical composition that is inconsistent with decomposition odour. Therefore, natural scent sources are typically considered to be the most effective training aids; however, there is concern that using individual tissue types as natural training aids may not be indicative of the scent of an intact human cadaver. The objective of this work was to determine how well textiles associated with decomposing remains retain and mimic the odour of natural training aids. To test this, the chemical odour profile of textile samples collected from decomposing porcine remains that were buried clothed in 100% cotton t-shirts was examined. Throughout various stages of decomposition, the pig carcasses were exhumed and cotton samples were obtained. The volatile organic compound (VOC) profile of the textiles was collected using headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) and analysed using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography – time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-TOFMS). This study provides evidence that textiles associated with decomposing remains may represent a useful natural training aid with a VOC profile reflective of a large subset of cadaveric decomposition odour. The odour profile is dynamic and changes over time suggesting that obtaining textiles from different postmortem intervals would be useful for providing training aids that represent the full spectrum of dec...

O'Brien, R.C., Appleton, A.J. & Forbes, S.L. 2017, 'Comparison of taphonomic progression due to the necrophagic activity of geographically disparate scavenging guilds', Journal of the Canadian Society of Forensic Science, vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 42-53.
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© 2016 Canadian Society of Forensic Science. Taphonomy, the study of the progression of living things from death to decay or fossilization, is crucial for understanding and determining the post mortem interval. One of the many factors that influence the taphonomic development of a set of remains is scavenger activity. Animals that feed on a carcass can greatly influence the interpretation of the circumstances which have led to the deposition of the body, thus it is important to be able to characterise how necrophagy impacts decomposition. Because the species of scavengers vary greatly depending on the region, information must be gathered in different areas that can provide generalizations for diverse geographic locations. This study seeks to characterise and compare the decomposition rates of remains in Western Australia and in Ontario, Canada. Domestic pig (Sus scrofa) carcasses were placed in four locations near Perth, Western Australia and in two locations in Ontario, Canada. These were observed using trail cameras to document scavenging activity and the progression of decay. The results showed that even when climatic variable are taken into account, the effects of scavenging on decompositional rates are significant. Information from this research provides insight into the influence of distinct scavenging guilds on decomposition and how understanding the necrophagy of local fauna may contribute to the interpretation of a death scene.

Pasin, D., Cawley, A., Bidny, S. & Fu, S. 2017, 'Characterization of hallucinogenic phenethylamines using high-resolution mass spectrometry for non-targeted screening purposes.', Drug Test Anal.
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Hallucinogenic phenethylamines such as 2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamines (2C-X) and their N-(2-methoxybenzyl) derivatives (25X-NBOMe) have seen an increase in novel analogues in recent years. These rapidly changing analogues make it difficult for laboratories to rely on traditional targeted screening methods to detect unknown new psychoactive substances (NPS). In this study, twelve 2C-X, six 2,5-dimethoxyamphetamines (DOX), and fourteen 25X-NBOMe derivatives, including two deuterated derivatives (2C-B-d6 and 25I-NBOMe-d9 ), were analyzed using ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-QTOF-MS). Collision-induced dissociation (CID) experiments were performed using collision energies set at 10, 20, and 40 eV. For 2C-X and DOX derivatives, common losses were observed including neutral and radical losses such as NH3 (17.0265 Da), •CH6 N (32.0500 Da), C2 H7 N (45.0578 Da) and C2 H9 N (47.0735 Da). 2C-X derivatives displayed common product ions at m/z 164.0837 ([C10 H12 O2 ](+•) ), 149.0603 ([C9 H9 O2 ](+) ), and 134.0732 ([C9 H10 O](+•) ) while DOX derivatives had common product ions at m/z 178.0994 ([C11 H14 O2 ](+•) ), 163.0754 ([C10 H11 O2 ](+) ), 147.0804 ([C10 H11 O](+) ), and 135.0810 ([C9 H11 O](+) ). 25X-NBOMe had characteristic product ions at m/z 121.0654 ([C8 H9 O](+) ) and 91.0548 ([C7 H7 ](+) ) with minor common losses corresponding to 2-methylanisole (C8 H10 O, 122.0732 Da), 2-methoxybenzylamine (C8 H11 NO, 137.0847 Da), and •C9 H14 NO (152.1074 Da). Novel analogues of the selected classes can be detected by applying neutral loss filters (NLFs) and extracting the common product ions. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Pasin, D., Cawley, A., Bidny, S. & Fu, S. 2017, 'Current applications of high-resolution mass spectrometry for the analysis of new psychoactive substances: a critical review.', Anal Bioanal Chem.
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The proliferation of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in recent years has resulted in the development of numerous analytical methods for the detection and identification of known and unknown NPS derivatives. High-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) has been identified as the method of choice for broad screening of NPS in a wide range of analytical contexts because of its ability to measure accurate masses using data-independent acquisition (DIA) techniques. Additionally, it has shown promise for non-targeted screening strategies that have been developed in order to detect and identify novel analogues without the need for certified reference materials (CRMs) or comprehensive mass spectral libraries. This paper reviews the applications of HRMS for the analysis of NPS in forensic drug chemistry and analytical toxicology. It provides an overview of the sample preparation procedures in addition to data acquisition, instrumental analysis, and data processing techniques. Furthermore, it gives an overview of the current state of non-targeted screening strategies with discussion on future directions and perspectives of this technique. Graphical Abstract Missing the bullseye - a graphical respresentation of non-targeted screening. Image courtesy of Christian Alonzo.

Popovic, A., McBriar, T., He, P. & Beavis, A. 2017, 'Chiral determination and assay of optical isomers in clandestine drug laboratory samples using LC-MSMS', Anal. Methods.
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Portbury, S.D., Hare, D.J., Sgambelloni, C.J., Bishop, D.P., Finkelstein, D.I., Doble, P.A. & Adlard, P.A. 2017, 'Age modulates the injury-induced metallomic profile in the brain.', Metallomics, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 402-410.
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The biological transition metals iron (Fe), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) are thought to contribute to the neuronal pathologies that occur following traumatic brain injury (TBI), and indeed our previously published work in young (3 month-old) mice clearly demonstrates a significant spatiotemporal modulation of metals following TBI. Of note, however, is the literature observation that there is both an apparent detrimental effect of aging on TBI outcomes and an alteration in metals and their various transporters with normal advancing age. Therefore, to determine whether there was an interaction between aging, metals and TBI, we have utilised laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry to examine the spatial and temporal distribution of Fe, Zn and Cu following an acute controlled cortical impact brain injury in aged (24 months) rodents. The relative abundance of metals in corresponding regions within the ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres as well as the hippocampus was assessed. Substantial region and time point specific alterations in Fe, Zn and Cu were identified immediately and up to 28 days post-TBI. The data from this follow-up study has also been compared to our previous data from young animals, and aged mice exhibit an appreciably enhanced and persistent elevation of all metals in every region surveyed, with individual metal disparities at various time points observed post-injury. This may potentially contribute to the acceleration in the onset of cognitive decline and neurological disease that has been observed in the aged population following head trauma.

Ribaux, O., Roux, C. & Crispino, F. 2017, 'Expressing the value of forensic science in policing', Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, pp. 1-13.
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© 2016 Australian Academy of Forensic SciencesOnly a small part of forensic science activities scattered across criminal justice systems is the object of scientific scrutiny, and is taken into account when evaluating the added-value brought by this discipline. Even in its more restricted definition, forensic science faces many embarrassing questions about its capacity to provide valid and reliably interpreted information in court. The inflation of control mechanisms increases costs and reduces the scope or availability of forensic information. The viability of forensic science, viewed through this lens, is questioned. To address this challenge, it is imperative to validly express forensic science contributions that are otherwise diluted across earlier processes. These include abductive and inductive species of inferences used in crime investigation, crime analysis and criminal intelligence. The ‘scientificity’ of these processes may be questioned, but it is not contested that they largely determine the global outcome of justice systems. As a result, they cannot be ignored. To unlock the debate, it is proposed to turn the forensic science focus from means (instruments, techniques, methods) to ends (what is the problem, what are the objectives?). This perspective naturally leads to proactive models of policing. It also provides possible frameworks to express various uses of the information conveyed by traces for solving problems. Reframed forensic science contributions are more validly expressed and the current debate can ultimately be transcended.

Stuart, B.H. & Thomas, P.S. 2017, 'Pigment characterisation in Australian rock art: A review of modern instrumental methods of analysis', Heritage Science, vol. 5, no. 1.
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© 2017 The Author(s). The many thousands of Aboriginal rock art sites extending across Australia represent an important cultural record. The styles and materials used to produce such art are of great interest to archaeologists and those concerned with the protection of these significant works. Through an analysis of the mineral pigments utilised in Australian rock art, insight into the age of paintings and practices employed by artists can be gained. In recent years, there has been an expansion in the use of modern analytical techniques to investigate rock art pigments and this paper provides a review of the application of such techniques to Australian sites. The types of archaeological information that may be extracted via chemical analysis of specimens collected from or at rock art sites across the country are discussed. A review of the applicability of the techniques used for elemental analysis and structural characterisation of rock art pigments is provided and how future technological developments will influence the discipline is investigated.

Su, D., McDonagh, A., Qiao, S.-.Z. & Wang, G. 2017, 'High-Capacity Aqueous Potassium-Ion Batteries for Large-Scale Energy Storage.', Adv Mater, vol. 29, no. 1.
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A potassium iron (II) hexacyanoferrate nanocube cathode material is reported, which operates with an aqueous electrolyte to deliver exceptionally high capacities (up to 120 mA h g(-1) ). The cathode material exhibits excellent structural integrity, leading to fast kinetics and highly reversible properties. All of the battery materials are safe, inexpensive, and provide superior high-rate, long-cycle-life electrochemical performance.

Tam, R., Heather, E., Shimmon, R., Lam, B. & McDonagh, A.M. 2017, 'Synthesis and organic impurity profiling of 4-methoxymethamphetamine hydrochloride and its precursors.', Forensic Sci Int, vol. 272, pp. 184-189.
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4-Methoxymethamphetamine (PMMA) was synthesised from star anise and from 4-methoxytoluene and the organic impurity profiles examined. These two starting materials are unrestricted chemicals in many jurisdictions and contain the requisite functional groups and are thus well suited for clandestine manufacturers. trans-Anethole was extracted from star anise and oxidised to 4-methoxyphenyl-2-propanone (PMP2P). 4-Methoxytoluene was oxidised to anisaldehyde, converted to 4-methoxyphenyl-2-nitropropene, and then reduced to PMP2P. The PMP2P obtained by both methods was then converted to PMMA via the Leuckart reaction. 4-Methoxymethamphetamine hydrochloride (PMMA·HCl) was synthesised from PMMA using hydrogen chloride gas. Both of the examined synthetic methods were found to be feasible routes into PMMA·HCl. The products of each step were analysed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H NMR). Impurities were examined in an attempt to identify route specific compounds, which may provide valuable information about the synthetic pathway and precursors.

Taudte, R.V., Roux, C. & Beavis, A. 2017, 'Stability of smokeless powder compounds on collection devices.', Forensic Sci Int, vol. 270, pp. 55-60.
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The current trend towards the implementation of organic gunshot residue (OGSR) analysis into gunshot residue (GSR) investigation protocols typically involves the sequential analysis of inorganic and organic GSR. However, to allow for the consecutive analysis of inorganic and organic GSR, specimens will often be stored for different lengths of time which may result in compounds of interest degrading. In order to optimise storage conditions, it is important to consider compound degradation on collection devices during storage. This study investigated the degradation over time of compounds potentially present in smokeless powders and OGSR on two collection devices, alcohol swabs and GSR stubs. Over a period of 63 days, the highest degree of degradation was found in the first four days. Interestingly, energetic compounds were generally found to be more stable than smokeless powder additives such as stabilisers including diphenylamine and ethyl centralite, which might be problematic considering that these compounds are common targets for OGSR. The findings can provide valuable information to operational forensic laboratories to optimise their storage durations.

Ueland, M., Howes, J.M., Forbes, S.L. & Stuart, B.H. 2017, 'Degradation patterns of natural and synthetic textiles on a soil surface during summer and winter seasons studied using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy.', Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc, vol. 185, pp. 69-76.
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Textiles are a valuable source of forensic evidence and the nature and condition of textiles collected from a crime scene can assist investigators in determining the nature of the death and aid in the identification of the victim. Until now, much of the knowledge of textile degradation in forensic contexts has been based on the visual inspection of material collected from soil environments. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the potential of a more quantitative approach to the understanding of forensic textile degradation through the application of infrared spectroscopy. Degradation patterns of natural and synthetic textile materials as they were subjected to a natural outdoor environment in Australia were investigated. Cotton, polyester and polyester - cotton blend textiles were placed on a soil surface during the summer and winter seasons and were analysed over periods 1 and 1.5years, respectively, and examined using attenuated total reflectance (ATR) spectroscopy. Statistical analysis of the spectral data obtained for the cotton material correlated with visual degradation and a difference in the onset of degradation between the summer and winter season was revealed. The synthetic material did not show any signs of degradation either visually or statistically throughout the experimental period and highlighted the importance of material type in terms of preservation. The cotton section from the polyester - cotton blend samples was found to behave in a similar manner to that of the 100% cotton samples, however principal component analysis (PCA) demonstrated that the degradation patterns were less distinct in both the summer and winter trial for the blend samples. These findings indicated that the presence of the synthetic material may have inhibited the degradation of the natural material. The use of statistics to analyse the spectral data obtained for textiles of forensic interest provides a better foundation for the interpretation of the data o...

Watanabe, S., Kuzhiumparambil, U., Nguyen, M.A., Cameron, J. & Fu, S. 2017, 'Metabolic Profile of Synthetic Cannabinoids 5F-PB-22, PB-22, XLR-11 and UR-144 by Cunninghamella elegans.', AAPS J, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 1148-1162.
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The knowledge of metabolic profile of synthetic cannabinoids is important for the detection of drugs in urinalysis due to the typical absence or low abundance of parent cannabinoids in human urine. The fungus Cunninghamella elegans has been reported to be a useful tool for metabolism study and thus applicability to synthetic cannabinoid metabolism was examined. In this study, 8-quinolinyl 1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indole-3-carboxylate (5F-PB-22), 8-quinolinyl 1-pentyl-1H-indole-3-carboxylate (PB-22), [1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indol-3-yl](2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropyl)methanone (XLR-11) and (1-pentyl-1H-indol-3-yl)(2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropyl)methanone (UR-144) were incubated with C. elegans and the metabolites were identified using liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The obtained metabolites were compared with reported human metabolites to assess the suitability of the fungus to extrapolate human metabolism. 5F-PB-22 underwent dihydroxylation, dihydrodiol formation, oxidative defluorination, oxidative defluorination to carboxylic acid, ester hydrolysis and glucosidation, alone and/or in combination. The metabolites of PB-22 were generated by hydroxylation, dihydroxylation, trihydroxylation, dihydrodiol formation, ketone formation, carboxylation, ester hydrolysis and glucosidation, alone and/or in combination. XLR-11 was transformed through hydroxylation, dihydroxylation, aldehyde formation, carboxylation, oxidative defluorination, oxidative defluorination to carboxylic acid and glucosidation, alone and/or in combination. UR-144 was metabolised by hydroxylation, dihydroxylation, trihydroxylation, aldehyde formation, ketone formation, carboxylation, N-dealkylation and combinations. These findings were consistent with previously reported human metabolism except for the small extent of ester hydrolysis observed and the absence of glucuronidation. Despite the limitations, C. elegans demonstrated the capacity to produce a wide variety of met...

Wei, Z., Niu, Q., Zhang, F., Xiao, K., Liu, L., Wang, Y., Jia, J., Cao, J., Fu, S. & Yun, K. 2017, 'The effect of sodium fluoride, formaldehyde, and storage temperature on the stability of methamidophos in post-mortem blood and liver.', International Journal of Legal Medicine, vol. 131, no. 3, pp. 667-675.
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Poisoning by organophosphorus insecticides such as methamidophos makes up a significant portion of forensic identification cases in China. Stability of methamidophos during specimen storage remains largely unknown. This study aimed to examine the long-term stability of methamidophos in postmortem specimens. Three experimental dogs after oral administration of methamidophos were sacrificed, and blood and liver specimens were collected and stored at various conditions. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) was used to measure the methamidophos concentrations after 0, 4, 7, 12, 16, 60, and 180 days of storage. The results showed that methamidophos was not stable and followed first-order degradation kinetics at all storage conditions investigated. The degradation half-life in blood was 12.2, 16.9, 11.0, and 1.0 days when the samples were stored at room temperature (RT, 20 °C), 4 °C, -20 °C, and at RT with 1 % sodium fluoride (NaF), respectively. The degradation half-life in liver was 4.1, 9.8, 17.8, and 2.0 days when the samples were stored at RT, 4 °C, -20 °C, and at RT with liver fixed in 10 % formaldehyde solution, respectively. These findings are significant in guiding sample storage and data interpretation. Specimens containing methamidophos should be stored at -20 °C and analyzed as early as possible. Addition of NaF in blood and fixation of liver in formaldehyde should be avoided due to the accelerated degradation of methamidophos under these conditions. The preliminary study suggests that it might be possible to calculate methamidophos concentration at the time of death based on its first-order degradation kinetic under specific storage conditions.

Zhang, J., Sun, B., McDonagh, A.M., Zhao, Y., Kretschmer, K., Guo, X. & Wang, G. 2017, 'A multi-functional gel co-polymer bridging liquid electrolyte and solid cathode nanoparticles: An efficient route to Li–O2 batteries with improved performance', Energy Storage Materials, vol. 7, pp. 1-7.
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© 2016 Lithium-oxygen (Li–O 2 ) batteries have the highest theoretical energy density amongst all rechargeable batteries and have attracted significant attention. However, large over-potentials originating from sluggish reaction kinetics often lead to low round-trip energy efficiency and short cycle life. We report here a novel multi-functional gel co-polymer that efficiently enhances the discharge and charge performances in Li–O 2 batteries by intimately connecting the liquid electrolyte and solid cathode nanoparticles. On one hand, the co-polymer material, poly(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidinyloxy-4-yl methacrylate-co-methyl methacrylate) (P(TMA-MMA)), functions as a binder during the fabrication of the cathode and forms a gel polymer membrane to retain liquid electrolyte and to increase ionic conductivity. On the other hand, the TMA units, containing N–O radical groups that catalyse Li 2 O 2 formation and decomposition during charge and discharge cycles, are distributed throughout the polymer membrane. This allows more effective formation and decomposition of Li 2 O 2 than surface bound catalytic units. The combination of gelable MMA and catalytic TMA moieties enhances the interface between liquid electrolyte and solid cathode by functioning as a medium both to transport Li + (enhancing discharge process) and to carry electrons (reducing charge over-potential). Consequently, the optimized P(TMA-MMA) co-polymers provide exceptional electrochemical performance in Li–O 2 batteries.