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Effect of Luminol on the Serological Analysis of Dried Human Bloodstains

NCJ Number
Crime Laboratory Digest Volume: 17 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1990) Pages: 13-23
R R J Grispino
Date Published
11 pages
This analysis of the effects of luminol sprays on the complete serological analysis of neat dried bloodstains concludes that the use of luminol denatures most blood enzymes after a short exposure and thus compromises the validity of further blood analyses.
Luminol reagent mixtures are commercially available in packaged crime scene kits, making the luminol test susceptible to misuse by untrained police officers. Crime scene personnel sometimes choose this test as the preferred field blood test at all crime scenes and then ask laboratory examiners to perform complete serological analyses of the questioned blood samples. An experimental study using positive and negative controls and two luminol mixtures showed that only limited serum proteins could be determined in samples treated with luminol. Therefore, crime scene personnel should use care in deciding to use luminol reagents as a blood screening test. The luminol spray technique is appropriate for a determination of invisible blood traces on large areas such as carpets, flooring, or the carpeted interior of a vehicle. However, if blood is visible, crime scene personnel should package it appropriately and sent it to a crime laboratory for analysis. Tables, figures, and 46 references