Chemical enhancement of footwear impressions in blood on fabric – Part 1 : protein stains

Farrugia, Kevin J. and Savage, Kathleen A. and Bandey, Helen and Daeid, Niamh Nic (2011) Chemical enhancement of footwear impressions in blood on fabric – Part 1 : protein stains. Science and Justice, 51 (3). pp. 99-109. ISSN 1355-0306

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Abstract

A range of protein stains were utilised for the enhancement of footwear impressions on a variety of fabric types of different colours with blood as a contaminant. A semi-automated stamping device was used to deliver test impressions at a set force to minimise the variability between impressions; multiple impressions were produced and enhanced by each reagent to determine the repeatability of the enhancement. Results indicated that while most protein stains used in this study successfully enhanced impressions in blood on light coloured fabrics, background staining caused interference on natural fabrics. Enhancement on dark coloured fabrics was only achieved using fluorescent protein stains, as non-fluorescent protein stains provided poor contrast. A further comparison was performed with commercially available protein staining solutions and solutions prepared within the laboratory from the appropriate chemicals. Both solutions performed equally well, though it is recommended to use freshly prepared solutions whenever possible.