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The degradative effects of temperature, ultra violet radiation and sodium hypochlorite on the detection of blood at crime scenes using the ABACard® HemaTrace® kit

Evans, Sarah (2016) The degradative effects of temperature, ultra violet radiation and sodium hypochlorite on the detection of blood at crime scenes using the ABACard® HemaTrace® kit. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Blood is one of the most common types of biological evidence found at the scene of violent crimes. Whilst the first step in processing this evidence is observation and documentation, this is closely followed by presumptive testing. Due to the fact that many substances have an appearance similar to blood, the sample must be analysed at the crime scene firstly to determine if the material is likely to be blood, and secondly if it is likely to be of human origin. Depending on the case context, this ensures time and resources are not wasted testing a substance of little or no forensic value. However, this can be complicated if the selected testing kit has the ability to produce false-negative results.

There are many degradative substances and environmental conditions within a crime scene in which a bloodstain can be exposed to. Substantial degradation may result in an inability for the presumptive test to recognise the sample as blood. The ABACard® HemaTrace® from Abacus Diagnostics Inc. tests for the presence human haemoglobin by antibody-antigen immunohematological chromatography, and is routinely used by forensic Police forces and biological laboratories worldwide. However, it is currently unknown in the scientific literature, how certain degradative agents, such as high temperature, high intensity ultra violet (UV) radiation and sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) affect the haemoglobin within a blood sample in terms of subsequent presumptive testing. If the haemoglobin is structurally degraded beyond recognition, it may not be able to bind to the antibodies present within the HemaTrace® kit, producing a false-negative result. This literature review aims to address the affect these three degradative agents (high temperature, UV radiation and bleach) have on human haemoglobin and the subsequent testing using the ABACard® HemaTrace® kit. The purpose of this literature review is to dictate parameters for potential research that may aid in answering the investigative question.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor: Reynolds, Mark and Speers, James
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/35140
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