Natural Resources, School of


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Published in Journal of Forensic Sciences 59:6 (November 2014), pp. 1642—1649; doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.12569


Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Used by permission.


Previous research into pollen content of tobacco resulted in a debate. We address this debate and determine that pollen analysis may be able to assist with identifying geographical origin of tobacco. However, the value of any results should be assessed on a case-by-case regional basis until sufficient database information is available for an objective interpretation to be undertaken on a global basis. As a first step toward developing comparative data for South America, we analyzed a tobacco sample from Brazil in an effort to identify signature taxa from the state of Minas Gerais. We also assessed the role of honey additives to tobacco to assess this issue. Comparing the data to previously published data, we conclude that pollen signatures can distinguish broad geographic areas. We conclude that this forensic interpretation framework needs to be developed in context of the National Academy of Sciences recommendations for tightening methods in forensic science.