Skip to main content

Microbial Metagenome Profiling Using Amplicon Length Heterogeneity-Polymerase Chain Reaction Proves More Effective Than Elemental Analysis in Discriminating Soil Specimens

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)



The combination of soil's ubiquity and its intrinsic abiotic and biotic information can contribute greatly to the forensic field. Although there are physical and chemical characterization methods of soil comparison for forensic purposes, these require a level of expertise not always encountered in crime laboratories. We hypothesized that soil microbial community profiling could be used to discriminate between soil types by providing biological fingerprints that confer uniqueness. Three of the six Miami-Dade soil types were randomly selected and sampled. We compared the microbial metagenome profiles generated using amplicon length heterogeneity-polymerase chain reaction analysis of the 16S rRNA genes with inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy analysis of 13 elements (Al, B, Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, P, S, Si, and Zn) that are commonly encountered in soils. Bray–Curtis similarity index and analysis of similarity were performed on all data to establish differences within sites, among sites, and across two seasons. These data matrices were used to group samples that shared similar community patterns using nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis. We concluded that while chemical characterization could provide some differentiation between soils, microbial metagenome profiling was better able to discriminate between the soil types and had a high degree of reproducibility, therefore proving to be a potential tool for forensic soil comparisons.

Keywords: amplicon length heterogeneity (ALH); elemental analysis; forensic science; inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy; microbial forensics; microbial profiling; soil forensics; soil metagenome

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: International Forensic Research Institute, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199. 2: USDA Agricultural Research Service, Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory, 3793 N 3600 E, Kimberly, ID 83341. 3: Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199.

Publication date: November 1, 2006


Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more
Real Time Web Analytics