The Effect of the Presence of Iron in Common Household Substances on the Luminol Blood Detection Test


  • Anya Hegde Texas A&m University


Abstract: Forensic science encompasses a multitude of different sub-disciplines. One of these is crime scene investigation, in which investigators collect and analyze evidence found at crime scenes. Blood is a critical piece of evidence found at crime scenes, it can provide investigators with a wealth of information about the case. Luminol is one of the most frequently used presumptive blood tests and determines if a substance may be blood or not. When luminol comes into contact with the hemoglobin in blood, it produces chemiluminescence because of an oxidation reaction. There are some substances that are known to produce false-positives for the luminol test, these include strong oxidants and true peroxidases. This study focused on the presence of iron in the substances tested and whether the iron would produce a false-positive. Half of the substances tested contained iron and the other half didn’t. The substances containing iron didn’t produce a higher level of fluorescence than the substances not containing iron. The results don’t support the assumption that the presence of iron in a substance would affect its fluorescence when sprayed with luminol.