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Development of a GC-MS Method for the Simultaneous Analysis of Latent Fingerprint Components

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Latent fingerprint residue is a complex mixture of organic and inorganic compounds. A full understanding of the composition of this mixture and how it changes after deposition is lacking. Three solvent systems were compared for the simultaneous extraction and derivatization with ethyl chloroformate of selected amino and fatty acids from a nonporous substrate (Mylar®) for subsequent analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A solvent system comprised of sodium hydroxide, ethanol, and pyridine was found to be the most effective. This method was applied to the analysis of latent fingerprint residue deposited on Mylar® and preliminary data are presented. Twelve amino acids (e.g., serine, glycine, and aspartic acid) and 10 fatty acids (e.g., tetradecanoic, hexadecanoic, and octadecanoic acids) were identified. The potential application of this method to further the understanding of latent fingerprint chemistry has been demonstrated.

Keywords: amino acids; ethyl chloroformate; fatty acids; forensic science; gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; latent fingerprint components; latent fingerprints

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Forensic and Biomedical Sciences, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln, LN6 7TS, U.K. 2: School of Biomedical and Natural Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS, U.K. 3: Home Office Scientific Development Branch, Sandridge, St Albans, AL4 9HQ, U.K.

Publication date: 2006-11-01

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