Categories
Health


Forget Password?
Learn more
share this!
2
3
Share
Email
January 20, 2022
by John Hollis,
An unlikely collaboration between George Mason University’s Honey Bee Initiative and the new outdoor Forensic Science Research and Training Laboratory could yield critical advances in forensic science.

Mason teams from a number of different fields are working in unison at the Science and Technology Campus in Manassas, Virginia, on an ambitious project to see if the produced by after feeding on flowers can help them better locate missing persons.
“The focus of forensics is to solve cases,” said Mary Ellen O’Toole, the head of the Forensic Science Program within Mason’s College of Science and a former FBI profiler. “Outdoor crime scenes have always posed a challenge to investigators, particularly identifying the location of . The bee research will allow us to scientifically demonstrate that identifying bee activity in bee farms or in the wild and analyzing their proteins can help lead investigators to human remains. In this case, the bees are our new partners in crime fighting, and that’s amazing .”
Proteins in bee honey contain biochemical information about what the bees have fed upon. That information has previously been used to detect the chemical signature of pesticides in honey, allowing observers to deduce what specific types of pesticides were being used within the five-mile radius from the hives that honey bees typically frequent.
Similarly, O’Toole and her team believe that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of human decomposition might likewise be found in bee honey, allowing authorities to then triangulate where missing human remains might be located. That ability could ultimately help spare grieving families additional extended angst while also saving thousands of hours in the search for a missing person.
“If we can determine what the VOCs are for humans and differentiate that from other animals, we could then use the bees and their honey as sentinels, and, hopefully, find missing persons and solve cases,” said Anthony Falsetti, an associate professor of .
Their belief is based on the premise that flowering plants near dead bodies will uptake the VOCs before being fed upon by the bees and ultimately being deposited in their honey.
Alessandra Luchini, an associate professor within Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM), has perfected a method to extract proteins from the honey. She and Lance Liotta, a University Professor and CAPMM co-founder and co-director, have been involved with the project from the outset, following the idea’s origins at one of the monthly research meetings with the Forensic Science Program.
Honey bees are very specific in the kinds of the flowers to which they’re attracted. Doni Nolan, Mason’s Greenhouse and Gardens sustainability program manager from the School of Integrative Studies within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, applied her expertise to the project, choosing the right flowers to plant within the specific one-acre section of the newly opened Forensic Science Research and Training Laboratory that will house the remains of human donors in a heavily wooded area. The honey bee hive on the SciTech Campus is located several hundred yards away from the Forensic Science Research and Training Laboratory.
In November, students and researchers planted several different species of plants, which bear highly scented white and yellow blossoms, near the spots where the human remains will soon be displayed. Additional plants native to this area will be planted in the spring before the first honey samples are examined, Nolan said.
“You’re trying to see if the honey and the bees can help us find a body and solve a homicide,” said Nolan, who has a biology degree from Mason and is working on a Ph.D. in biosciences.
The five-acre, Forensic Science Research and Training Laboratory opened in early 2021, making Mason just the eighth location in the world capable of performing transformative outdoor research in forensic science using human donors and the only one in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Donation of human remains to the research facility will come through the Virginia State Anatomical Program (VSAP), which is a part of the Virginia Department of Health. Go here to learn more about donating your body to science.
Mason also entered a partnership with FARO Technologies, Inc. that resulted in the world’s first FARO-certified forensic laboratory.
In addition to those in the Forensic Science Program, the multidisciplinary project also includes the caretakers of the honey bees, as well as researchers and students from CAPMM, as well as from the Department of Environmental Science and Policy within the College of Science and Office of Sustainability, all of whom helped select the plants for the research design.


Explore further

Where did western honey bees come from? New research finds the sweet spot


Citation: Honey bees and their honey could be a big help in solving police cases (2022, January 20) retrieved 20 January 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-01-honey-bees-big-police-cases.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further
Facebook
Twitter
Email
Feedback to editors
6 hours ago
0
7 hours ago
3
7 hours ago
0
7 hours ago
1
Jan 19, 2022
0
4 minutes ago
5 minutes ago
6 minutes ago
36 minutes ago
38 minutes ago
1 hour ago
1 hour ago
10 hours ago
14 hours ago
Jan 18, 2022
Jan 18, 2022
Jan 18, 2022
Jan 17, 2022
More from Biology and Medical
Dec 03, 2021
Aug 25, 2021
Dec 21, 2020
Feb 10, 2021
Jun 09, 2021
Jan 24, 2020
1 hour ago
10 hours ago
4 hours ago
7 hours ago
Jan 19, 2022
Jan 19, 2022
Use this form if you have come across a typo, inaccuracy or would like to send an edit request for the content on this page. For general inquiries, please use our contact form. For general feedback, use the public comments section below (please adhere to guidelines).
Please select the most appropriate category to facilitate processing of your request
Thank you for taking time to provide your feedback to the editors.
Your feedback is important to us. However, we do not guarantee individual replies due to the high volume of messages.
Your email address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the email. Neither your address nor the recipient’s address will be used for any other purpose. The information you enter will appear in your e-mail message and is not retained by Phys.org in any form.

Get weekly and/or daily updates delivered to your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time and we’ll never share your details to third parties.
More information Privacy policy
Medical research advances and health news
The latest engineering, electronics and technology advances
The most comprehensive sci-tech news coverage on the web
This site uses cookies to assist with navigation, analyse your use of our services, collect data for ads personalisation and provide content from third parties. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.