Journal Highlight: Dating bloodstains with fluorescence lifetime measurements

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  • Published: Feb 13, 2012
  • Channels: UV/Vis Spectroscopy
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Dating bloodstains with fluorescence lifetime measurements

Dating bloodstains with fluorescence lifetime measurements

Chemistry - A European Journal 2012, 18, 1303-1305
Kevin Guo, Samuel Achilefu, Mikhail Y. Berezin

Abstract: Determining the age of a bloodstain at a crime scene is one of the greatest and oldest challenges in forensic science. The results presented herein, with dog blood as a model, indicate a highly reproducible correlation between the fluorescence lifetime and the age of the bloodstain. The time-dependent changes in fluorescence lifetime were attributed to the alteration of tryptophan. Our approach is based on the fact that the fluorescence lifetime of tryptophan - the major endogenous fluorophore in blood proteins - is highly sensitive to the protein conformation. We hypothesized that in the process of blood aging, the major tryptophan-containing proteins, such as albumin and gamma-globulins, which constitute more than 95 % of the protein mass in blood, undergo structural changes. Consequently, we expected that the time-related degradation of proteins in blood would reflect the blood age.

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A highly reproducible correlation has been established between the fluorescence lifetime and the age of a bloodstain, using dog blood as a model, which was related to the alteration of tryptophan, the major endogenous fluorophore in blood proteins 

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