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Analysis of fingermark constituents: a systematic review of quantitative studies

Rachel Robson, Tilak Ginige, Saleh Mansour, Iftikhar Khan, and Sulaf Assi

Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK



Received: 1 September 2021  Accepted: 13 April 2022


Fingermark identification has significance in forensic science, particularly in the processing of crime scene evidence. The majority of literature focused on physical interpretation of fingermarks with limited studies relating to chemical analysis. This systematic review investigated prospective studies dealing with the analysis of latent fingermark constituents. Studies included were those concerned with the analysis of intrinsic organic constituents present in latent fingerprints. Studies with no clear procedure were excluded. Data from the studies were exported into SPSS v22 (IBM, Armonk, NY, USA) where descriptive statistics were applied. The data extraction yielded 19 studies related to identification of lipids (n = 66) and/or amino acids (n =27) in latent fingermarks. The primary lipid identified was squalene and the major amino acids included: alanine, glycine, leucine, lysine, and serine. For identification of the aforementioned constituents both chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques of which the main technique was gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Prior to analysis, the majority of studies involved collection of fingermarks from both hands at room temperature. Deposition was done on different substrates of which the main were glass, Mylar strips, aluminium sheets or paper. In conclusion, chemical analysis of latent fingermarks enabled identifying key biomarkers of individual that could serve as complementary evidence in crime scene investigation.

Keywords: Fingermark analysis; Fingermark components; Fingermark constituents; Fingermarks; Classification; Regression; Extraction techniques

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-022-02232-x


Chemical Papers 76 (8) 4645–4667 (2022)

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