Human or animal blood?

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  • Published: Nov 13, 2014
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Base Peak / Chemometrics & Informatics / Proteomics / Infrared Spectroscopy / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / Atomic / X-ray Spectrometry / Raman / NMR Knowledge Base / MRI Spectroscopy

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A simple non-destructive optical method has been developed to distinguish between human and nonhuman blood primarily for customs purposes.

Developed by Chinese scientists and described in Analytical Methods, it uses diffuse reflectance spectroscopy over 350-1150 nm supported by a statistical model to interpret the data. A training set was established with samples of human, macaque and guinea pig blood in order to construct the model and it was subsequently applied to 35 unknown blood samples.

The model successfully discriminated human blood from macaque, guinea pig, rat, chicken and pig blood with 100% accuracy. One key problem that had to be overcome was the failure of the model to classify fresh blood samples correctly. However, by including samples that were collected within 24 hours, the performance was improved and blood was correctly assigned.

The portability of the instrumentation coupled with non-destructive nature and the accuracy of the procedure make it a viable alternative to existing methods like DNA profiling. The research team envisaged that it will be of value for customs inspections, presumably providing a black box with a yes/no result. It might also gain acceptance in the forensic world for initial screening before more accurate profiling work is carried out.

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