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Human Bloodstains on Biological Materials: High-Vacuum Scanning Electron Microscope Examination Using Specimens without Previous Preparation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 February 2013

Policarp Hortolà*
Affiliation:
Àrea de Prehistòria, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Avinguda de Catalunya 35, ES-43002 Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social, Carrer de Marcel·lí Domingo s/n, Edifici W3 Campus Sescelades, ES-43007 Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
*
*Corresponding author. E-mail: policarp.hortola@urv.cat

Abstract

Studies of human bloodstains on nonbiological materials have been previously carried out using a high-vacuum scanning electron microscope (HV-SEM) in secondary-electron mode without any sample treatment. To assess whether biological substrates can affect the morphology of human erythrocytes in bloodstains, three fragments of different biological material (bone, shell, and wood) were smeared with peripheral human blood. Afterward, the bloodstains were directly examined in secondary-electron mode by an HV-SEM following a procedure initially standardized to be used in uncoated human bloodstains on stone. The obtained results suggest that HV-SEM is suitable for examining untreated bloodstains on biological substrate and that the morphology of erythrocytes in human bloodstains is not affected by the biological nature of the substrate. A cautionary issue regarding bloodstains on nondehydrated biological substrates is that the waiting time required for initiating the HV-SEM examination is by far higher than when using inorganic bloodstain substrates.

Type
Biological Applications: Short Communications
Copyright
Copyright © Microscopy Society of America 2013

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