Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Forensic Science & Clinical Toxicology
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Spicing Up Fingerprints

Published: Thursday, June 06, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, June 06, 2013
Bookmark and Share
New findings suggests that turmeric could be used to help solve crimes.

It is most commonly used to spice up Indian cuisine, but scientists at Sheffield Hallam University have discovered turmeric could be used to help solve crimes.

Researchers at the University's Biomedical Research Centre have found that the gold-colored powder can highlight fingerprints at crime scenes and can detect key characteristics of a suspect such as traces of drug abuse.

After close analysis of the spice's main ingredient, curcumin, scientists found that the molecule shares the same structural characteristics as the chemicals used in Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization (MALDI) technology - a technique that allows scientists to detect and identify different molecules on surfaces.

The crime scene is dusted in curcumin to highlight the fingerprints and the sample can then be lifted and sent to mass spectrometry researchers who can determine the presence of various fatty acids, drugs and other molecules.

The findings can then be passed onto crime scene investigators for forensic evidence.

Forensic scienceat Sheffield Hallam's Biomedical Research Centre, said: "Turmeric has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions from colds to tumours but to be used to enhance fingerprints, I initially thought that it was just amusing. But then, the more I thought about it and the more I looked into the curcumin molecular structure, the more interested I became.

"With a finger-mark, the idea was around looking at whether or not we could replace the MALDI matrix that we were using with curcumin. I thought this would be very advantageous because curcumin behaves as a dual agent - a finger-mark enhancer and a MALDI matrix."

The chemical agents commonly used to visualize fingerprints can sometimes interfere with analysis however, the new findings suggests that using turmeric could overcome these issues.

Dr Francese said: "When the team compared the performances of the classical matrix and curcumin we found that in some cases curcumin outperforms the classic matrix and it seems to be more efficient at enhancing finger-marks."

"It's amazing that one single compound can be used in so many different ways and then to find that this compound can be used for this kind of purpose, it made me even more excited and this is why we trialled it. Sometimes, we use all these complicated products but quite often, the answer is so simple."

Dr Francese's work has been acknowledged in the Home Office's manual for fingerprint development as having the potential to be used effectively in the crime fighting industry.

But the challenge now is to gain enough funding to be able to evidence its effectiveness in order to introduce this method of fingerprint analysis.

A research paper around this study has now been published on Analytical Chemistry.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Eliminating Doubt in Criminal Investigations
New ASU certificate to help curb error, misunderstanding in the quest for justice.
Determination of 13 Organic Toxicants in Human Blood
Researchers have utilised liquid-liquid extraction coupling HPLC-MS/MS to identify and quantify organic toxicants in human blood.
A Novel Cell Culture Model For Forensic Biology Experiments
Researchers have developed a new cell culture model which provides an efficient research tool in forensic biology.
Rhino DNA Bank Aids Anti-Poaching Fight
At the University of Pretoria's Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) at Onderstepoort, Dr Cindy Harper and her team have developed a ground-breaking technique to collect and catalogue DNA from rhinos and rhino horns.
Gender Determination in Forensic Investigations
This study investigated the effectiveness of lip print analysis as a tool in gender determination.
Identifying Novel Types of Forensic Markers in Degraded DNA
Scientists have tried to verify the nucleosome protection hypothesis by discovering STRs within nucleosome core regions, using whole genome sequencing.
ASMS 2016: Targeting Mass Spectrometry Tools for the Masses
The expanding application range of MS in life sciences, food, energy, and health sciences research was highlighted at this year's ASMS meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
What Makes a Good Scientist?
It’s the journey, not just the destination that counts as a scientist when conducting research.
Identifying Vietnamese Wartime Remains
Mike Coble presented latest methods for analyzing DNA from human remains in Hanoi.
Genes For Nose Shape Found
Genes that drive the shape of human noses have been identified by a UCL-led study.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!