Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Forensic and Investigative Science

Committee Chair

Keith B Morris

Committee Co-Chair

Patrick Buzzini

Committee Member

Jack Hietpas

Committee Member

Gerald Lang


Within the forensic science community, pollen as a form of trace evidence is extremely underutilized. In many instances, trace evidence examiners and crime scene investigators are unfamiliar with how best to recover pollen from a piece of evidence. Methods such as vacuum sweeping, tape lifting, and sonication have been implemented for the recovery of the test dust from materials such as clothing, shoes, or improvised explosive devices. While these methods are known to be beneficial with some trace materials, their effectiveness with pollen has yet to be determined. The goal of this research project was to implement and compare multiple sampling techniques for pollen incorporated into a test dust on various substrates in an effort to establish which technique was most effective at recovering the greatest amount of the pollen/dust mixture. In this research pine pollen was incorporated in to a "test dust" that was applied to five different forensically relevant surfaces: two different brands of a cotton knit shirt, 100% nylon stockings, metal cans, and shoes---all of which may be encountered at crime scenes. Through this work, it was determined that the tape lift method most effectively removed the test dust off of all of the surfaces examined. The effectiveness was based on the speed of the recovery technique as well as what method removed the greatest amount of pollen.