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Bianchi F.,University of Parma | Bedini A.,University of Parma | Riboni N.,University of Parma | Pinalli R.,University of Parma | And 4 more authors.
Analytical Chemistry | Year: 2014

A selective cavitand-based solid-phase microextraction coating was synthesized for the determination of nitroaromatic explosives and explosive taggants at trace levels in air and soil. A quinoxaline cavitand functionalized with a carboxylic group at the upper rim was used to enhance selectivity toward analytes containing nitro groups. The fibers were characterized in terms of film thickness, morphology, thermal stability, and pH resistance. An average coating thickness of 50 (±4) μm, a thermal stability until 400 °C, and an excellent fiber-to-fiber and batch to batch repeatability with RSD lower than 4% were obtained. The capabilities of the developed coating for the selective sampling of nitroaromatic explosives were proved achieving LOD values in the low ppbv and ng kg-1 range, respectively, for air and soil samples. © 2014 American Chemical Society. Source

Bianchi F.,University of Parma | Gregori A.,Reparto Carabinieri Investigazioni Scientifiche di Rome | Braun G.,IVA Analysentechnik | Crescenzi C.,University of Salerno | Careri M.,University of Parma
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry | Year: 2015

Home-made micro-solid-phase extraction (SPE) cartridges using different adsorbent materials were tested for the desorption electrospray ionization-high-resolution mass spectrometry (DESI-HRMS) determination of explosives like 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, cyclotrimethylene-trinitramine, cyclotetramethylene-tetranitramine, pentaerythritol tetranitrate, and trinitrophenylmethylnitramine in soil samples. Quantitation limits in the low nanogram per kilogram range proved the reliability of the method for the detection of explosives at ultra-trace levels. The reduced sample preparation allowed for low costs and high-throughput analyses. Finally, the superior extraction capability of the method was proved by obtaining DESI-HRMS responses at least five times higher than those achieved by performing DESI-HRMS analyses of solid-liquid extracts spotted onto commercial polytetrafluoroethylene slides. © 2014 Springer-Verlag. Source

Pilli E.,University of Florence | Casamassima R.,Reparto Carabinieri Investigazioni Scientifiche di Rome | Vai S.,University of Florence | Virgili A.,Istituto Superiore di Tecniche Investigative dei Carabinieri | And 5 more authors.
Investigative Genetics | Year: 2014

Background: In forensic science there are many types of crime that involve animals. Therefore, the identification of the species has become an essential investigative tool. The exhibits obtained from such offences are very often a challenge for forensic experts. Indeed, most biological materials are traces, hair or tanned fur. With hair samples, a common forensic approach should proceed from morphological and structural microscopic examination to DNA analysis. However, the microscopy of hair requires a lot of experience and a suitable comparative database to be able to recognize with a high degree of accuracy that a sample comes from a particular species and then to determine whether it is a protected one. DNA analysis offers the best opportunity to answer the question, 'What species is this?' In our work, we analyzed different samples of fur coming from China used to make hats and collars. Initially, the samples were examined under a microscope, then the mitochondrial DNA was tested for species identification. For this purpose, the genetic markers used were the 12S and 16S ribosomal RNA, while the hypervariable segment I of the control region was analyzed afterwards, to determine whether samples belonged to the same individual.Results: Microscopic examination showed that the fibres were of animal origin, although it was difficult to determine with a high degree of confidence which species they belonged to and if they came from a protected species. Therefore, DNA analysis was essential to try to clarify the species of these fur samples.Conclusions: Macroscopic and microscopic analysis confirmed the hypothesis regarding the analyzed hair belonging to real animals, although it failed to prove with any kind of certainty which actual family it came from, therefore, the species remains unknown. Sequence data analysis and comparisons with the samples available in GenBank showed that the hair, in most cases, belonged to the Canidae family, and in one case only to Felidae. © 2014 Pilli et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Franchi C.,Reparto Carabinieri Investigazioni Scientifiche di Rome | Pilli E.,University of Florence | Barni F.,Reparto Carabinieri Investigazioni Scientifiche di Rome | Potenza S.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Berti A.,Reparto Carabinieri Investigazioni Scientifiche di Rome
Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series | Year: 2011

Chemical maceration is a useful procedure to remove soft tissues and to bleach bones facilitating the forensic anthropologist examination. However, prolonged exposure to chemicals often compromises DNA recovery and its amplification via PCR. Our purpose was to test the new generation multiplexes to type nuclear DNA and contemporarily to verify the possibility of mt-DNA sequencing. Our work demonstrates the ability of NGM kit (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA) to give a result when applied after an extraction strategy that implies large amounts of bone powder, a high affinity column separation and a "small meshed molecular size" concentration. Finally, we suggest not to use chemicals to macerate human bones for the purpose of identity or at least to save a fragment of femur from the treatment but if this is not the case, we indicate an analytical strategy that consider as the best method to obtain a nuclear-DNA profile in highly degraded DNA condition. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Source

Berti A.,Reparto Carabinieri Investigazioni Scientifiche di Rome | Barni F.,Reparto Carabinieri Investigazioni Scientifiche di Rome | Virgili A.,Istituto Superiore di Tecniche Investigative dellArma dei Carabinieri | Colozza C.,Comando Compagnia Carabinieri Aeroporti di Rome | And 2 more authors.
Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series | Year: 2011

Terrorist crime usually makes use of improvised explosive disposals (IEDs) which, especially in national environments, consist of postal or pipe bombs often assembled by using plastic or paper envelopes, adhesive tapes, electric components such as switches, batteries, cables, etc. To date it has been considering quite complex to recover DNA in quality and quantity proper for STRs typing aimed at the identification of the manufacturer of the IED especially due to the very serious damage degree of the evidence (exposed to high temperatures). In this work we tested saliva and touch evidences (perspiration), usually found on a postal package, deposed inside the postal bombs charged with deflagrating or detonating explosives in different quantities and we evaluated the possibility to achieve DNA profiles useable for identification purposes from such kind of post-explosion biological evidences. We demonstrated that with new generation multiplexes it is possible to gain STRs profile useful for identification purposes even from highly burned and degraded bomb debris. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Source

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