Changes in the Microbial Community as a Potential Indicator of Clandestine Drug Operations.
Payne, Tanisha N.
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Dust is a complex mixture of inorganic and organic materials including diverse microorganisms, which if unattended, accumulates over time. In this study, the microbial content in house dust was tested to determine its forensic detection potential in a model scenario mimicking the conditions of methamphetamine manufacturing. We hypothesized that microorganisms associated with the materials exposed to vapors will respond in a reproducible way. By identifying the microbial communities and any changes that may have occurred we expected to elucidate a correlation between microorganisms and the test chemicals involved, which was supported by the results presented. These findings may provide evidence in otherwise “cold cases” of methamphetamine manufacturer as well as information on the chemistry employed.