The use of biofuels as an accelerant in arson attacks has increased over recent years. This can be challenging for the Forensic Chemist tasked with analysing the debris to determine the location and nature of the fire. Biofuels, in particular biodiesels, incorporate long chain methyl esters from vegetable and animal fats, together with the range of hydrocarbon components. This application note showcases the power of chemometrics using Agilent Mass Profiler Professional (MPP) software to highlight small differences in chromatograms taken from fire debris samples, which would be extremely challenging to conduct manually. This short study demonstrates the power of chemometrics to allow the identification of small differences between samples looking similar by visual inspection.
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Analysis of fire debris samples by GC-MS and Chemometrics