The influence of ageing and surface type on the odour profile of blood-detection dog training aids

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Journal Article
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2016, 408 (23), pp. 6349 - 6360
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© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Cadaver-detection dogs are a preferred search tool utilised by law enforcement agencies for the purposes of locating victim remains due to their efficiency and minimal disturbance to the crime scene. In Australia, a specific group of these canines are blood-detection dogs, which are trained to detect and locate blood evidence and search potential crime scenes in cases where a cadaver may not be present. Their role sometimes requires searches to be carried out after considerable time has passed since the crime occurred, and this is important for developing effective training protocols. This study aimed to investigate the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced from fresh and aged human blood on various surfaces. Solid phase microextraction (SPME) was used to extract VOCs from the headspace of dried blood samples aged and sampled periodically over 12 months from a non-porous (i.e. aluminium) and porous (i.e. cotton) surface. Samples were analysed using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-TOFMS). Fresh blood produced distinctively different VOC patterns compared to blood aged longer than 1 week with the overall profile differing between the two surface types, and a large subset of the VOC profile found to be responsible for these differences. When analysing the various functional groups present in the samples, a common pattern between ages and surface types was observed with no specific chemical class dominating the overall profile. The results highlight the importance of evaluating training aids for scent-detection canines to ensure the greatest efficacy during training and subsequently at crime scene searches.
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