A preliminary investigation into the use of alginates for the lifting and enhancement of fingermarks in blood

Mhairi Munro, Paul Deacon, Kevin J. Farrugia

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Recent studies have reported the use of alginate in the lifting and subsequent enhancement of footwear marks in blood. A study was set up to assess the use of such a method in the treatment of fingermarks in blood on a variety of porous, non-porous and semi-porous surfaces. Other variables included ageing of the fingermarks in blood and the application of chemicals prior to or post-alginate lifting. All different variations were compared to direct chemical treatment of the substrate. The results demonstrated that alginate is not compatible with certain substrates (e.g. glass and tile). On substrates that were compatible with alginate (e.g. fabric and paper), the enhanced fingermarks on the alginate cast and the enhanced fingermarks on the post-alginate substrates appeared, overall, inferior compared to direct chemical enhancement without the use of alginate. A further variation using water-based protein stains directly mixed with the alginate appeared to provide enhancement directly on the substrate as well as simultaneous lifting and enhancing the fingermarks in blood on the alginate cast.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-191
Number of pages7
JournalScience & Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


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