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J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2011 Jan;15(1):22-5. doi: 10.4103/0973-029X.80033.

A rapid and noninvasive method to detect dried saliva stains from human skin using fluorescent spectroscopy.

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Department of Oral pathology and Microbiology, Ragas Dental College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.



Saliva is one of the vital fluids secreted in human beings. Significant amount of saliva is deposited on the skin during biting, sucking or licking, and can act as an important source in forensic evidence. An enzyme, α amylase, gives a characteristic emission spectrum at 345-355 nm when excited at 282 nm and this can be identified by using fluorescent spectroscopy and can help in forensic identification. This study describes a rapid method to detect dried saliva on the human skin by fluorescent spectroscopy.


This study included 10 volunteers, who deposited their own saliva on skin of their ventral forearm by licking and water on the contralateral arm as control. This study was carried out at Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai.


Ten volunteers deposited their own saliva on skin of their ventral forearm by licking. A control sample of water was deposited at the contralateral arm. Each sample was excited at 282 nm and emission spectrum was recorded.


The emission spectra of 10 swab samples taken from dried saliva were characterized at the primary peak of 345 to 355 nm whereas the emission spectrum of water as a control was recorded at 362 nm.


The presence of emission spectrum at 345-355 nm with excitation at 282 nm proves to be a strong indicator of saliva deposited on human skin.


Fluorescence; forensic dentistry; saliva; spectroscopy; tryptophan

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