MALDI-MSI could be used in forensic procedures at scenes of crime.
Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University (Sheffield, UK) have developed a MS-based technology that could be used to analyze fingerprints left at crime scenes. Working with West Yorkshire Police (Wakefield, UK), the scientists have trialled the technology by lifting marks found at the scenes of various crimes and then taking them back to their laboratories for analysis.
Using the MALDI-MSI technology, the fingermarks, which are made up of materials from the surface of the skin and gland secretions, can be tested for substances of forensic interest, such as traces of drugs or hair and cleaning products. The MS-based technology may also be used to determine the sex of the person who left the fingerprints.
The researchers have demonstrated that the technology is compatible with the current methods used by forensic scientists in the UK, and following further funding received in 2011, it has been deemed to have potential to be adopted as a standard investigative policy.
According to lead scientist, Simona Francese, working with West Yorkshire Police has taken MALDI-MSI closer to being used as a standard forensic procedure. Francese commented, “It is a valuable opportunity to be able to gather authentic evidence that demonstrates the efficiency of MALDI-MSI to be used in order to provide additional intelligence to the investigators in real casework.”