The Use of PolilightR in the Detection of Seminal Fluid, Saliva, and Bloodstains and Comparison with Conventional Chemical-Based Screening Tests Academic Article uri icon


  • Biological stains can be difficult to detect at crime scenes or on items recovered from crime scenes. The use of a versatile light source may assist in their detection. The ability of Polilight to locate potential semen, saliva, and blood stains on a range of substrates and at different dilutions was tested. We also tested the use of Polilight in comparison with conventional chemical-based presumptive screening tests such as acid phosphatase (AP), Phadebas, and luminol, often used in casework for detecting potential semen, saliva, and blood stains, respectively. The Polilight was able to locate stains that were not apparent to the naked eye. The color of the material on which a stain is deposited can have an effect on the detectibility of the stain. The Polilight was found to be comparable with the AP and Phadebas tests in terms of its sensitivity. In a comparative study between the AP test and Polilight on 40 casework exhibits, one false-negative result was observed when using the Polilight. On a series of mock casework exhibits it was determined that the Polilight can be used successfully to locate saliva stains for DNA analysis. The sensitivity of luminol for detecting potential bloodstains was greater than that of Polilight; however the Polilight has particular application in instances where a bloodstain may have been concealed with paint. Overall, the Polilight is a relatively safe, simple, noninvasive, and nondestructive technique suitable for use in forensic casework.

publication date

  • March 2006