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Blood Stain Analysis Lab

By Louise Parker,2014-05-08 20:58
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Blood Stain Analysis Lab

    Blood Type and Blood Stain Analysis

    Forensics and Criminal BehaviorFall 2006

This lab is divided into two partsBlood stain analysis and blood typing.

    Blood Stain Analysis

    **This lab was adapted from one created by the Biological Science Initiative at the University of Colorado.

    Investigators often find blood stains during their examination of a crime scene. They also find stains that could either be blood or some other similar looking substance like reddish-brown paint or tomato sauce. In this lab, you will employ two chemical tests that forensic scientists use to signify the presence of blood. The tests you will carry out are called presumptive tests. They are not conclusive tests for blood, and other analyses, such as serum protein analysis or DNA testing, would typically be carried out to confirm the presence of blood.

    The presumptive tests you will carry out all rely on components of blood to catalyze a reaction with a chemical placed on the substance to be tested. The tests you will be doing each use hydrogen peroxide, a strong oxidant.

    In this activity, you will compare the results of the catalase test and the phenolphthailein test to see how each reacts with blood and other substances.

Catalase test

    Have you ever used hydrogen peroxide to clean a cut or scrape? Have you noticed the bubbles that formed on your skin when the hydrogen peroxide came in contact with the blood from the wound? Blood contains an enzyme called catalase, which breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gases.

     2HO (l) + catalase ; 2H0 (l) + O (g) + catalase 2222

    When this reaction occurs, the oxygen gas is released as bubbles. The catalase enzyme performs an important function in living organisms because hydrogen peroxide is very toxic to living cells. Other organisms, including plants and some bacteria, also make catalase. If you place a few drops of hydrogen peroxide on a substance that contains catalase it will bubble profusely. These substances that bubble with the addition of hydrogen peroxide are said to test positive for catalase.

Laboratory procedures

    Which of the following substances do you think would test positive for catalase? Make a prediction for each, and explain your reasoning. Make sure you make a prediction for each substance before conducting your test.

    After you have made your predictions, test each of these substances to see if it is catalase positive or negative. SAFETY NOTE: Even though you will not be using any real human blood in this activity, you should wear appropriate protection such as gloves.

Record your results in a table that you create in your lab notebook. Do not write on the

    table below---it was included only to help you design a table in your lab notebook.

Substance Prediction: Explain your Lab Lab Result:

    Catalase Catalase prediction Observations

    positive or positive or

    negative? negative?

    Red paint

Fresh

    potato

    (smashed)

Cooked

    tomato

    sauce

Red food

    coloring

Fresh, raw

    beet

Blood

    (chicken or

    cow)

Phenolphthalein

     The phenolphthalein test, also known as the Kastle-Meyer test, is commonly used today to presumptively indicate whether blood is present on an object. This color test relies on the iron in hemoglobin, the iron-containing portion of a red blood cell, to catalyze the oxidation of phenolphthalein. Phenolphthalein is normally clear and colorless, but in the presence of blood and hydrogen peroxide, it becomes pink.

Heme iron + phenolphthalein (clear) + HO ; oxidized phenolphthalein (pink) + HO + Heme iron 222

    ***Heme iron is a catalyst and is unchanged

    As with the Catalase test, the disadvantage of the Kastle-Meyer phenolphthalein test is that it is presumptive, not conclusive. If any chemical or plant oxidants from sources other than blood are present, the test can produce false positive results. In your experiment, however, you will minimize false positive results by adding the hydrogen peroxide last. Other oxidants that may be present in the stain you’re analyzing will usually produce a pink color before the hydrogen peroxide is added, and you will be able to eliminate them as blood.

Lab Procedure

    Which of the following substances do you think would test positive for blood using the phenolphthalein test? Make a prediction for each, and explain your reasoning. Make sure you make a prediction for each substance before conducting your test.

    Test each of these substances to see if it is positive or negative for the presence of blood using the phenolphthalein test. SAFETY NOTE: the phenolphthalein solution may burn or irritate the skin. WEAR GLOVES AND SAFETY GLASSES.

Record your results in a table that you create in your lab notebook. Do not write on the

    table below---it was included only to help you design a table in your lab notebook.

Substance Prediction: Explain your Lab Observations Lab Result:

    Phenolph. Phenolphthalein prediction

    positive or positive or

    negative? negative?

    Red paint

Fresh

    potato

    (smashed)

Cooked

    tomato

    sauce

Red food

    coloring

Fresh, raw

    beet

Blood

    (chicken or

    cow)

Analysis of evidence from the crime scene:

Test the two stains from the crime scene that might be blood.

Record your results in a table that you create in your lab notebook. Do not write on the

    table below---it was included only to help you design a table in your lab notebook.

Stain Lab observations Catalase Lab Observations Phenolph.

    (+/-) (+/-)

    A

    B

    Which of these stains is probably blood? Could it be anything else other than blood?

    Blood Typing Lab

    Once you know that a stain is blood, what else would you do as a forensic scientist? There is a lot of potential information in a blood stain, including blood type. Blood typing can be used as an initial test to exclude some suspected sources of a bloodstain. For example, if a blood stain at the crime scene contains type A blood, but the key suspect has type O blood, the suspect could be excluded as a source of the blood stain

    meaning he or she definitely did not leave the blood stain. However, blood type alone usually cannot positively identify a suspect because many people share the same blood type.

    Investigators have collected blood samples from each of the suspects in the case. It will be your job to determine the blood type for each sample. You will determine both the ABO blood type of each sample as well as the Rh factor type.

Introduction to ABO blood typing:

    Although blood type provides less information than DNA profiling, it is very easy and inexpensive to do and can be used in conjunction with other laboratory data. Blood type (A, B, AB, and O) is also very important for blood transfusions. If the recipient of blood receives the wrong type of blood in a transfusion, it can lead to severe health complications and even death.

    The letters A and B refer to the presence of certain molecules (called antigens) on the surface of red blood cells. A person who has Type A blood has one kind of antigen (Type A) present on the surface of his or her red blood cells. A person with Type B blood has another kind of antigen (Type B). Those with AB blood have both of these types of antigens on their red blood cells and people with Type O blood have neither of these antigens.

    In addition to the antigens shown above, there are also antibodies circulating in the plasma of the blood. A person who has Type A antigens on his blood cells also has antibodies to Type B blood. The table below describes the antigens and antibodies carried by people with different blood types.

     Type A Type B Type AB Type O

    Antigens A B A and B Neither A nor B

    Antibodies B A Neither A nor B A and B

     If Type B antibodies are placed in contact with a blood cell that has type B antigens, the antibodies will attach to the cells and will cause the cells to clump together, a process known as agglutination.

    Figure 1: the figure on the left is normal blood and the figure on the right is agglutinated blood.

    It is probably not surprising that one of the functions of this antibody/antigen system is to help your immune system recognize which cells are yours and which ones are invaders. The invaders might be foreign blood cells or they might be other cells that can cause disease. Your immune system protects you from these invading cells by attempting to inactivate these foreign cells. In the process of inactivating these invading cells, the antibodies that are part of your immune system attach themselves to the antigens on the surface of the invaders. This attachment normally results in the cells clumping together, agglutination.

    For this reason, it is important that health professionals know your blood type before you are given a blood transfusion. For example, imagine that Joe, a person who has Type A blood, was in a serious accident and needed a blood transfusion. Since he has Type A blood, his red blood cells have type A antigens on their surfaces. In addition, Joe’s blood plasma carries antibodies to type B blood. (Since he has Type A blood, his immune system would see any Type B blood as foreign blood and therefore as an invader.) If Joe was mistakenly given a blood transfusion of Type B blood, his immune system would see the added red blood cells as invaders since the added cells would have Type B antigens on their surface. His circulating B antibodies (in his blood plasma) would attack these B antigens and the result would be agglutination of the blood.

Rh Factor:

    Another commonly tested blood antigen group is the Rh factor. Individuals who produce Rh antigens are referred to as Rh positive while individuals who do not produce Rh antigens are referred to as Rh negative. Follow the directions in the blood typing kit to determine Rh factor after you have determined blood type.

Determining blood type:

    The interactions of antigens on cell surfaces and antibodies floating in the blood are the basis for determining Blood Type in the laboratory. Blood types are determined by adding antibody reagents that specifically react with the A, B, and Rh antigens on the surface of red blood cells. In this procedure, various types of antibodies are added to the blood and the results are inspected to see if clumping has occurred. If clumping is present, it means that agglutination has occurred and that the blood had a reaction to the antibody that was added.

    Follow the direction on the blood typing kit to determine blood type and Rh Factor for each of the suspects, the victim, and the evidence found at the crime scene.

Record your results in a table that you create in your lab notebook. Do not write on the

    table below---it was included only to help you design a table in your lab notebook.

     Agglutination Agglutination What types Blood Rh Factor

    after adding after adding of antigens Type for negative or

    anti-A serum? anti-B serum? are present? this positive?

    individual

    Suspect

    A

Suspect

    B

Suspect

    C

Victim

Evidence

Answer the following questions regarding your results:

    1) Based on the results of the blood type analysis, can you exclude any of the

    suspects as having left the blood stain found at the crime scene? Explain.

    2) Based on the results of the blood type analysis, which suspect(s) could have left

    the blood stain at the crime scene? Explain.

    3) Based on the results of the blood type analysis, can you exclude any suspect(s)

    from having killed Dr. Fischer?

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