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Monday, August 4, 2003

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

DNA Extractable From Fingerprints - UPI SCIENCE NEWS - July 31, 2003 ...a new technique developed by Canadian scientists soon could harvest enough DNA from a print to produce a genetic identity...

Fingerprinting Finds Wanted Crooks - In Jail - INDEPENDENT ONLINE, SO. AFRICA  - July 29, 2003 ...850 prisoners at a correctional facility were fingerprinted and 81 of them were identified as being wanted for other crimes...

Improved Fingerprint Visualization Using Luminescence and Visible Reflectance Chemical Imaging - FBI - FORENSIC SCIENCE COMMUNICATIONS - July 2003 ...chemical imaging is a new latent fingerprint examination technique that combines molecular spectroscopy and digital imaging technology...

Roman Fingerprints Found in 2,000-Year-Old Cream - THE GUARDIAN, UK - July 28, 2003 ...archaeologists marvel at the latest discoveries unearthed during excavations at a Roman temple complex in London...

Good morning via the "Detail," a weekly e-mail newsletter that greets latent print examiners around the globe every Monday morning. The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.





Woooo hooo.

(It's 2 years old today!  :)

In celebration of the 104th Weekly Detail, I have prepared a BidNow auction!

There were several extra speakers gifts left over from the IAI conference in Ottawa, so I invested in one of them to pass on the opportunity of ownership to someone who couldn't attend.

The BidNow item is a 2003 Ensemble Specimen Set of Canadian Coinage from the Royal Canadian Mint.  The 7 coins are housed in a clear plastic double-sided presentation case with a dark forest green folding leatherette protective cover bearing a gold adhesive nameplate which reads "International Association for Identification, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2003".  The winning bidder will get this beautiful keepsake in it's original box with a small gift tag: "Presented to (winning bidder's name),  On the occasion of (The Second Birthday of The Weekly Detail), Date (August 4, 2003)

To bid, visit the ebay auction at:

In traditional form, the bidding will start out at one penny, with no reserve.  Proceeds help pay for the website expenses.  T-shirt sales were down a little this year, so if you have been meaning to support the site in that way, they are still available in all sizes from a link on the CLPEX.com home page.


Jim McNutt is looking for some humorous contributions.  He wants to publish a collection of Jeff Foxworthy - like examples of "You might be a latent print examiner... if".

For example,

"You might be a latent print examiner if...

... you have ever noticed that the print on top of the Dinty Moore Beef Stew can has virtually no Galton Details in it

... you go to the zoo you are more interested in the bifurcations and ridge endings in the zebra stripes"

Help out Jim by posting your "Might be" on the CLPEX.com message board!


Last week, we followed an interesting line of defense questioning by Pat Wertheim.  This week, we jump back to some discussion on the CLPEX.com message board a month or two ago about the possible use of beef bullion cubes as a standard test reagent for ninhydrin latent print development.  Bill and Karen Sampson bring us this week's Detail, "Amino Acid Representative Standard".


Amino Acid Representative Standard
By William C. Sampson and Karen L. Sampson

Recently an article referring to the use of a dilution of beef bouillon cube (s) to test reagents to determine their effectiveness of developing fingerprints containing amino acids was read. This triggered much thought and research into the viability of such an application.

Background (the information presented in this report is designed for reference and not as a tutorial in biology, chemical analysis or nutritional interpretation)

Amino acid is described as a class of simple organic compounds. There are 20 amino acids commonly found in animals:

Common Amino Acids in Animal Protein: Alanine Arginine Asparagine * Aspartic acid Cysteine Glutamic acid Glutamine Glycine Histidine Isoleucine Leucine Methionine Phenylanine Proline Serine Threonine Trypotophan Tyrosine Valine Lysine

* derivative of Aspartic acid

Animal protein is generally considered to be a complete protein but it may not achieve a perfect amino acid ratio. The ratio may vary from 65 to 85% of usable protein. Metabolic products of amino acid such as nitrogenous compounds urea, creatinine, uric acid and other nitrogenous products are lost in sweat, sloughed off skin and body secretions and are found in most natural latent print deposits.

Amino Acids in Natural Fingerprint Residue: Alanine Aminobutyic Acid Arginine Aspartic Acid Citrulline Cysteine Glutamic Acid Glycine Histidine Isoleucine Leucine Lysine Methlonine Omithine Phenylalanine Proline Serine Taurine Threonine Tyrosine

Being curious, the labeling information on Beef Bouillon Cube Brand “A“, which was on hand, was reviewed for amino acid content. Two additional beef bouillon cube products Brands “B” and “C” were selected randomly from the grocery store shelf for comparative purposes. The ingredients in the bouillon cubes, in order of content, greatest amount first, are as follows.

Beef Bouillon Cube Ingredients
Brand “A”

Brand “A” Brand “B” Brand “C”
1. A. Salt B. Salt C. Salt
2. A. Monosodium Glutamate B. Monosodium Glutamate C. Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
3. A. Hydrogenated Vegetable B. Beef Fat C. Sodium Bicarbonate
4. A. Palm Kernal Oil B. Partially Hydrogenated Cotton Seed Oil C. Monosodium Glutamate
5. A. Sunflower Oil B. Yeast Extract C. Sugar
6. A. Soybean Oil B. Caramel Color C. Beef Fat
7. A. Sugar B. Dehydrated Beef Stock C Water
8. A. Beef Meat B. Dried Vegetables (onion, carrots, parsley) C Cooked Beef
9. A. Caramel Color B. Turmeric C. Onion Powder
10. A. Natural Flavors B. Disodium Inosinate C. Dextrose
11. A. Spices B. Guanylate C. Corn Maltodextrin
12. A. Disodium Guanylate B. Spices C. Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten Protein
13. A. Disodium Inosinate C. Hydrolyzed Con Protein
14. A. Turmeric C. Garlic Powder
15. C. Natural Beef Flavor
16. C. Beef Extract
17. C. Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
18. C. Autolyzed Yeast Extract
19. C. Hydrolyzed Soy & Wheat Gluten Protein
20. C. Calcium Silicate
21. C. Disodium Inosinate
22. C. Disodium Guanylate
23. C. Hydrolyzed Torula and Brewer’s Yeast Protein
24. C. Caramel Color
25. C. Lactic Acid
26. C. Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten
27. C. Soybean Oil
28. C. Natural Flavor
29. C. Silicon Dioxide
30. C. Artificial Flavor
31. C. Soy Lecithin
32. C. Tricalcium Phosphate
33. C. Propyl Gallate
34. C. FD & C Red # 40
35. C. Alpha Tocopherol (antioxidant)
36. C. BHA (preservative)
37. C. Corn Oil
38. C. BHT (preservative)
39. C. Citric Acid

Labeling indicates that the nutritional values of the bouillon cubes are as follows:

“A” is 47% sodium and contains “0” grams of protein
“B” is 58% sodium, protein is less than 1 gram, total fat 2%, saturated fat 3%
“C” Is 38% sodium and 0 grams of protein

There was no break down as to exact amounts of each ingredient in the bouillon cube or a profile or properties of the amino acid content. Amino acids in a bouillon cube are thought to be derived from the protein source of the meat content. Without a quantitative and qualitative analysis, the specific amino acids and their quantities, if any, are unknown, as is their source. The quality aspect of the protein is also an important consideration and so may be the source of the amino acid.

As has been noted by others, amino acids are the building blocks of and are present in all proteins. The proportion varies for any given protein. Also many proteins come from other sources such as soy beans. These are plant proteins.

Company “A” was contacted requesting a profile of amino acids contained in their product. Their reply was as follows: “The beef bouillon cubes are purchased from a supplier and the suppliers are unable to provide an amino acid profile.” They further stated that “Since this information is not required for medical purposes and is not required for any labeling requirements, we do not require this information from our supplier.” Whatever the reason, they were unable or unwilling to provide the profile of amino acids in the beef bouillon cube.

Companies “B” and “C” were also contacted and were also unable to provide any information regarding amino acid content in their beef bouillon cubes.

Many ingredients in the beef bouillon cube may contain amino acids to some degree. This is very complex and is based on facets such as the manufacturing process, extraction methods, ingredients and internal controls. The best that can be said for using bouillon cubes for a representative sample of amino acids is, if there is not a quantitative amount of specific amino acids for the purpose of testing reagents, it is a poor choice. Yes, it may contain amino acids in minute degree but not knowing factually the content and quantity leaves a lot to be desired.

The MSG or Monosodium Glutamate in a beef bouillon cube is considered to be sodium salt of amino acid and a form of glutamate. In food it is a free form glutamate. It still remains an unknown quantity even though it is derived from Glutamic acid, an amino acid which is present in fingerprint residue.

As the amount and quality of beef product is unknown and the sodium content is disproportionately high, the question comes to mind "is it good enough to work?”

Opinions that have been expressed generally include comments along these lines:

Without looking at a beef bouillon cube list of ingredients I would suspect that the cube is an extract of beef by products. There should be a little protein in the cube (along with all the salt). All protein is made of string amino acids linked together, but unless the company analyzed the product there would be no way of knowing which amino acids or what amounts.

Opinion here - bouillon has lots of spice and salts and some oil but proteins are not major components. There are probably some from the ground spices (peppers, etc.) The protein is usually added in making soup or a dish.

The feeling is that beef bouillon cubes may just be the flavoring with spices and salts and not reliable for using it for amino acid content.

In Summary

For control purposes in testing reagents perhaps it would be better to use a representative sample of natural perspiration. Ultimately the best test subject is natural fingerprint residue itself. Residue samples should be obtained from a variety of donors to ensure good representation. Natural fingerprint residues usually consist of a combination of eccrine and sebaceous secretions. Consideration must be given to the content of any one person’s fingerprint residue as it varies according to where and what they touch and what they eat as well as foreign contaminates such as cologne, cosmetics, lotions, grime, grease, medication, food, etc.

There was concern that bouillon cubes were being used in training classes as a representative standard for testing amino acid reagents. The instructors of the latent classes were contacted, and they advised that they do use a bouillon cube as a method of demonstrating chemicals which react with salt, specifically silver nitrate and iodine. However, they further advised that they do not use beef bouillon in their testing of amino acid reagents. As a control or representative sample for testing amino acid reagents they use natural perspiration.

Certainly, testing reagents on some kind of standard substance to ensure their viability makes sense in today’s legal climate. But it appears that bouillon cubes are not the best choice. The lack of published information regarding the presence of amino acids in beef bouillon makes it difficult to justify its use as a representative standard and to document legal proof of its viability as a control.

Additionally, it doesn’t matter if there are amino acids in bouillon unless they are the same ones likely to be present in fingerprint residue. A reagent may not necessarily react the same to all amino acids. It must be tested either on all amino acids found in natural secretions of fingerprint residue or on one specific amino acid that is in fingerprint residue for proof of its efficiency. If a substitute must be used for testing reagents, it should at least be able to be proved in court that it contains the same amino acids as are present in fingerprint residue.

An alternative approach may be the use of amino acid supplements in the form of powder, capsule or tablet. These may be placed in a diluted solution. There are supplements on the market that provide specific individual amino acids or combinations up to all 20 common amino acids. Also, there are research grade amino acids which likewise provide identified specific or selected individual amino acids and their quantity. As specific amino acids and their quantity are identified in these products, it is the authors’ opinions that this type of product would make a more accurate representative standard for use in research.

The authors would like to thank Lori Moore, MicHael Moore, Chris Grice, Kasey Wertheim, Nancy Blackwell, Shawn Durgin, Jennifer Hannaford, Margaret Schwartz, Bill Appel, Bob Moran, Tim Trozzi, Norman Kassoff and Dr Joseph H Davis, MD for their help, opinions and technical assistance in preparing this report.

Statements and information presented in this report are in good faith and believed to be accurate.


To discuss this week's Detail, log on to the CLPEX.com
message board and discuss your thoughts: (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2)

And as usual, the onin.com forum (http://onin.com/fp/wwwbd/) is also available for more formal latent print-related discussions.

For discussions with an international flair, check out Dave Charlton's forum at: http://charlton97.proboards12.com/index.cgi



"Fingerprinting and identification are still key to solving criminal cases, despite the technological advances that are making DNA testing more reliable and easy to obtain. It is possible that they may one day become obsolete, as new methods supersede them, but for the foreseeable future, the ends of the fingers will continue to point the way."
by Kimberly Skopitz

http:// kyky.essortment.com/fingerprinthist.rmmv.htm
copied on 8-30-03 by Jim DaNutt



UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

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Have a GREAT week!