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Using mass spectrometry to transform the assessment of sexual assault evidence

journal contribution
posted on 10.07.2020, 11:00 by Stephanie Rankin-Turner, Paul Kelly, Roberto SP King, Jim Reynolds
The time-consuming analysis of sexual assault evidence creates a challenging bottleneck in forensic investigations. Common techniques for semen analysis result in sample destruction, and there are currently no confirmatory techniques for the preparation-free or in situ analysis of semen. In all, there is a crucial requirement for the development of faster direct analytical techniques. In this study, the first use of ambient ionisation mass spectrometry for the forensic analysis of human semen has been demonstrated. Sheath-flow probe electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (sfPESI-MS) was applied to the analysis of semen for the purpose of rapid body fluid identification, in addition to determining the effects of sample age on detection. Fresh and aged semen were readily detected from numerous surfaces, with a preparation-free analysis time of <10 s. The technique was also applied to the analysis of different types of condom, demonstrating the ability to detect differences in sheath and lubricant compositions, essential evidence in sexual assault investigations. This demonstrates the potential to both indicate prophylactic use and ascertain information regarding the condom used.

Funding

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N509516/1).

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
  • Science

Department

  • Chemistry

Published in

Forensic Chemistry

Volume

20

Publisher

Elsevier BV

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Elsevier B.V.

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Forensic Chemistry and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forc.2020.100262.

Acceptance date

03/07/2020

Publication date

2020-07-08

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

2468-1709

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Jim Reynolds. Deposit date: 8 July 2020

Article number

100262

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