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A brief study on the effects of storage conditions on sexual lubricant components in the presence of a biological fluid

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International
Date Published

This study illustrated the effects of environmental conditions (i.e., temperature) on the components of a condom lubricant in the presence of vaginal secretion.



Understanding the effects of storage is important for the short-term handling of sexual assault kits, that may contain post-coital swabs, prior to chemical analysis. This preliminary three-day investigation utilized gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyze the samples at three timepoints (24, 48, and 72 h). Lubricated and non-lubricated swabs were exposed to five storage conditions. After percent recovery calculation, GC-MS interpretation, and statistical analysis, it was determined that storing swabs at room temperature (22 °C) for up to 72 h best maintained the integrity of the sexual lubricant – in comparison to T0 – as opposed to colder storage temperatures of 4 °C and − 20 °C. Despite the varying degree of changes in the storage conditions and temperatures, PDMS components were persistent in all lubricated samples and can be used to confirm the presence of condom lubricant if initially present in the sample. (Publisher Abstract)