Forensic Palynology


Palynology   – Palynology is the study of pollens and spores.

Spore- haploid cell derived from sporganium via meiosis.

Pollens – immature, endosporic male gametophyte derived from male spores (microspores) in seed plants.

Use of Pollens in Forensics

Following Points can be proved by study of pollens in forensics:

  • It can relate a suspect to the scene of crime.
  • It can relate an item left at the scene to a suspect.
  • It can relate to the foreign item which found on the scene of crime.
  • Support or disprove alibis.
  • It can search for the trace materials to their original sources.

Detection of Pollens

Presence of pollens can be detected or verified by some forensic techniques, such as :

  • Mineral Analysis
  • Stable isotopes
  • Radiocarbon dating, etc.


The country of New Zealand leads the world in the use of forensic palynology and in the acceptance of this type of evidence in court.

Work of Palynologist

  • The first task of the forensic palynologist is to try to find a match between the pollen in a forensic sample with the pollen from a known geographical region.
  • Knowledge of pollen dispersal (pollen rain) and productivity often plays a major role in solving such problems.

What to Sample?

  • Soil, dirt, dust are common at every crime scene.
  • They should be collected carefully because often these elements contain abundant pollen and spores.
  • Samples of dirt collected from the clothing, skin, hair, shoes, or the car of a victim might prove useful in linking the victim with the location where the crime occurred (mildenall, 1988)

Pollination Method

There are four types of pollen dispersal methods:

  1. Pollen that is carried by water currents.
  2. Pollen that is carried by wind currents.
  3. Pollen that is transported by an insect or animal, and
  4. Pollen that never leaves the flower because it is used for self pollination.

Best place to find Pollen / Spores

  • Woven cloth
  • Blankets
  • Ropes
  • Clothing
  • Fur, etc.


  • Forensic palynology is useful even if no soil traces can be detected or seen by the naked eye on sample.
  • There is no time bound for pollen analysis; it can be performed in investigation after any years since the crime committed.

Have a glance on Some Cases where Palynology have been usedClick here…


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