Aims and objectives

The Animal Plant and Soil Traces expert working group (APST) supports the aims and objectives of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) in the area of casework analysis of all kinds of biological traces of non-human origin and soil traces.

The activities of APST offers a scientific platform to exchange experiences, to discuss analytical issues concerning morphological and molecular aspects, to plan collaborations in the field of general biology and to generate a network of forensic biological experts. It will provide a forum for the validation, introduction and improvement of morphological, chemical, physical and molecular biological analysis in casework.


This includes:

  • Interlaboratory comparison tests and collaborative exercises to compare different analytical methods and protocols (morphology / DNA) between different laboratories
  • Development of quality standards for the broad diversity of analytical techniques both on species and individual level
  • Interpretation of analytical results and use of appropriate statistics for estimation of the evidential value for non-human biological traces
  • Sharing of forensic collections and expert systems
  • Exploring the possibilities of combining databases between members
  • Presentation of forensic cases and interpretation of results
  • Building a scientific network between the members ensuring an exchange of information at scientific meetings and through personal contacts
  • Promoting research activities covering the various types of examinations conducted by members of the group
  • Dissemination of forensic knowledge and experience with training seminars and workshops on different topics

This working group covers the most diverse range of all biological traces of non human origin to be linked to crime. This includes plants and all of its products and fragments, animals, animal tissues and body fluids, insects and their fragments, microorganisms, the biological and abiotic fraction of soil including soil microbes. This list is not intended to be exhaustive.



APST is managed by the Steering Committee (4 experts from different institutes). The working group was founded in 2010 by 27 founding members (from 13 ENFSI-member institutes from 9 different countries and 5 associate members). A meeting is held every year.



APST is open to membership for ENFSI representatives. Additionally it is open for associate membership for non-ENFSI institutes, provided they are active in non-profit laboratories involved in forensic examinations instructed by prosecution and law enforcement in Europe.
Guests may be invited to APST meetings by the the Chair and Steering Committee. Guests do not have voting rights.


You can find the EWG’s Best Practice Manuals and Guidelines here in the Documents-Section.


You can contact APST chairperson Irene Kuiper  via our contact form.

Otherwise, you can send an e-mail to