Volume 94 Issue 46 | p. 6 | News of The Week
Issue Date: November 21, 2016 | Web Date: November 16, 2016

Chemical traces yield ‘lifestyle sketches’

Compounds left behind on personal objects such as cell phones reveal much about the daily activities of the user
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: forensic science, mass spectrometry, metabolomics

People leave chemical traces wherever they go, especially when they touch or handle objects. Those chemicals can come from a variety of sources, including personal care products, food, or medications. A chemical analysis of those traces can be used to draw a “lifestyle sketch” of the person who left them behind.

A team led by Pieter C. Dorrestein and Amina Bouslimani of the University of California, San Diego, has shown they can . . .

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