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Detection and mapping of illicit drugs and their metabolites in fingermarks by MALDI MS and compatibility with forensic techniques.

Scientific reports (2015-06-30)
G Groeneveld, M de Puit, S Bleay, R Bradshaw, S Francese
ABSTRACT

Despite the proven capabilities of Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (MALDI MS) in laboratory settings, research is still needed to integrate this technique into current forensic fingerprinting practice. Optimised protocols enabling the compatible application of MALDI to developed fingermarks will allow additional intelligence to be gathered around a suspect's lifestyle and activities prior to the deposition of their fingermarks while committing a crime. The detection and mapping of illicit drugs and metabolites in latent fingermarks would provide intelligence that is beneficial for both police investigations and court cases. This study investigated MALDI MS detection and mapping capabilities for a large range of drugs of abuse and their metabolites in fingermarks; the detection and mapping of a mixture of these drugs in marks, with and without prior development with cyanoacrylate fuming or Vacuum Metal Deposition, was also examined. Our findings indicate the versatility of MALDI technology and its ability to retrieve chemical intelligence either by detecting the compounds investigated or by using their ion signals to reconstruct 2D maps of fingermark ridge details.

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