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Photo- and Thermal-Degradation Studies of Select Eccrine Fingerprint Constituents

NCJ Number
Journal Forensic Sciences Volume: 55 Issue: 4 Dated: July 2010 Pages: 962-969
Date Published
July 2010
8 pages

Photo- and thermal-degradation studies on eccrine fingerprint components are presented herein.


Dilute distinct solutions of urea, lactic acid, and seven amino acids were deposited on steel coupons and Teflon disks, exposed to artificial sunlight or heat, extracted, and analyzed. This aim of this study was to determine whether the investigated eccrine components, previously determined to be Raman active for a parallel study, experienced photo- or thermally induced degradation, and if so, to determine the rate and identify any detectable products. Neither the amino acids nor urea exhibited photo-degradation; however, when heated for a period of three minutes, the onset of thermal-degradation was initiated at 100 degrees C for the amino acids and 100 degrees C for urea. Lactic acid, the major polymerization initiator of superglue fuming, showed photochemical and thermal-degradation. These results could be used for future development of new latent fingerprint visualization methods, especially when lactic acid is degraded. (Published Abstract)

Date Published: July 1, 2010