Mitigating temporal mismatches in forensic soil microbial profiles

Zohar Pasternak*, Aineah Obed Luchibia, Ofra Matan, Lorna Dawson, Ron Gafny, Moshe Shpitzen, Shlomit Avraham, Edouard Jurkevitch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Forensic implementation of soil bacterial DNA profiling is limited by the potential for temporal mismatch of DNA profiles, e.g. after storage or seasonal changes. We compared profiles of samples retrieved at one location over 14 years after air-drying, freeze-drying and –80 °C freezing storage. Sample mismatch in freeze-dried and air-dried samples was significant after two years and continued to increase yearly, whereas profiles after –80 °C freezing remained unchanged for many years. In an attempt to mitigate inter-seasonal temporal mismatches, e.g. when months pass between crime and seizure of evidence, soils sampled in winter and summer were exposed to artificial ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ conditions, respectively, and their DNA profiles were compared. Differences were small between soil types, larger between seasons and largest between ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ seasons. Understanding sources of temporal variations is critical for storage of forensics samples and for developing mitigation procedures that could help overcome these time-induced limitations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)685-694
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences.


  • Soil
  • bacteria
  • sample storage
  • temporal mismatch


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