Fingerprint could identify smoker, drinker
May 19, 2007 - 10:46:06 AM

London, May 19 - Fingerprint could help identify a smoker, drinker, an avid coffee drinker or even a drug addict, scientists say.

A team of foreign experts at the University of East Anglia in Norwich have designed a system capable of detecting cotinine - a metabolite of nicotine and a valuable indicator of tobacco smoke exposure. This metabolite was chosen because simple contact with a cigarette or tobacco is not enough to produce it.

To detect cotinine, a fingerprint is dabbed with a solution containing gold nanoparticles and attached antibodies.

A second antibody that binds to the cotinine is then marked with a fluorescent dye. If the owner of the print is a smoker, a florescent glow will be revealed along its ridge patterns, reported online edition of New Scientist.

Besides extending the test to antibodies capable of detecting alcohol and illicit drugs, the experts believe that the technique could be used to detect performance-enhancing drug use in sport.

The novel technique can also be in future used on fingerprints collected at a crime scene.

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