We apply KMD plot analysis for the first time to sebaceous fingerprints aged for 0–7 days to characterize lipid degradation processes analyzed by MALDI-MS.
A Kendrick mass defect (KMD) plot is an efficient way to disperse complex high-resolution mass spectral data in a visually informative two-dimensional format which allows for the rapid assignment of compound classes that differ by heteroatom content and/or unsaturation. In addition to the ambient ozonolysis of fingerprint lipids previously reported, we observed unique spectral features associated with epoxides and medium chain fatty acid degradation products that are correlated with fingerprint age. We propose an ambient epoxidation mechanism via a peroxyl radical intermediate and the prevalence of omega-10 fatty acyl chains in fingerprint lipids to explain the features observed by the KMD plot analysis. Our hypotheses are supported by an aging experiment performed in a sparse ozone condition and on-surface Paternò–Büchi reaction. A comprehensive understanding of fingerprint degradation processes, afforded by the KMD plots, provides crucial insights for considering which ions to monitor and which to avoid, when creating a robust model for time since deposition of fingerprints. (Publisher abstract provided)