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Monitoring Criminal Activity through Invisible Fluorescent “Peptide Coding” Taggants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4169-4582
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number8
Early online date31 Mar 2016
Accepted/In press24 Mar 2016
E-pub ahead of print31 Mar 2016
Published19 Apr 2016


King's Authors


Complementing the demand for effective crime reduction measures are the increasing availability of commercial forensic “taggants”, which may be used to physically mark an object in order to make it uniquely identifiable. This study explores the use of a novel “peptide coding” reagents to establish evidence of contact transfer during criminal activity. The reagent, containing a fluorophore dispersed within an oil-based medium, also includes a unique synthetic peptide sequence that acts as a traceable “code” to identify the origin of the taggant. The reagent is detectable through its fluorescent properties, which then allows the peptide to be recovered by swabbing and extracted for electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) analysis via a simple liquid–liquid extraction procedure. The performance of the reagent in variable conditions that mimic the limits of a real world use are investigated.

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