Chemical enhancement of footwear impressions in blood on fabric: part 3: amino acid staining

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

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Enhancement of footwear impressions, using ninhydrin or ninhydrin analogues is not considered common practice and such techniques are generally used to target amino acids present in fingermarks where the reaction gives rise to colour and possibly fluorescence. Ninhydrin and two of its analogues were used for the enhancement of footwear impressions in blood on various types, colours and porosities of fabric. Test footwear impressions on fabric were prepared using a specifically built rig to minimise the variability between each impression. Ninhydrin enhancement of footwear impressions in blood on light coloured fabric yielded good enhancement results, however the contrast was weak or non-existent on dark coloured fabrics. Other ninhydrin analogues which have the advantage of fluorescence failed to enhance the impressions in blood on all fabrics. The sequential treatment of impressions in blood on fabric with other blood enhancing reagents (e.g. protein stains and heme reagents) was also investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalScience & Justice
Issue number1
Early online date17 Sep 2012
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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