T H E
D E T A I L
Monday, August 4, 2003
BREAKING NEWz you can
compiled by Jon Stimac
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
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
HAPPY BIIIIIRTHDAY TO THE WEEKLY DETAIL.....
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
(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
"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
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
* 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
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
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 “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
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
“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.
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
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
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
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
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
For discussions with an international flair, check out Dave Charlton's forum at:
"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
copied on 8-30-03 by Jim DaNutt
CLPEX.com this week...
No major site updates this
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Have a GREAT week!