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Forensic Sci Int. 2013 Oct 10;232(1-3):e38-41. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2013.08.006. Epub 2013 Aug 18.

Microbial degradation of ignitable liquids on building materials.

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Forensic Science Laboratory - San Francisco, 355 North Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, United States. Electronic address:


Gasoline was added to moldy samples of unused building materials. The unused samples were allowed to sit at room temperature for 2, 4, 7, and 14 days. Each set of samples was extracted using passive headspace concentration and analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Microbial degradation of the gasoline pattern was observed in limited samples to an extent that could result in an inability to identify an ignitable liquid according to ASTM E1618. The degradation noted was largely consistent with the results of previous microbial studies involving soil.


Fire debris; Forensic science; Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry; Ignitable liquid; Microbial degradation

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