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

Kevin J. Farrugia, Kathleen A. Savage, Helen Bandey, Niamh Nic Daéid

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25 Citations (Scopus)
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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-109
Number of pages11
JournalScience & Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Footwear impressions
  • Protein stain
  • Blood
  • Chemical enhancement
  • Fabric


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