The Utility of Polyester and Cotton as Swabbing Substrates for the Removal of Cellular Material from Surfaces*


  • Presented at the 61st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 16–21, 2009, in Denver, CO.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Lawrence Quarino, Ph.D.
Forensic Science Program
Cedar Crest College
100 College Drive
Allentown, PA 18104


Abstract:  Various types of cotton and polyester fabrics were tested to ascertain the optimal physical and chemical characteristics of fabrics needed for the removal of cellular material from surfaces. DNA quantitation values obtained on dried saliva stains showed no difference between cotton and polyester across all constructions and solvent conditions. Fabrics used dry and with water yielded higher quantitation values than those used with isopropanol. Quantitation values were also higher for wovens and nonwovens than knits across all solvent conditions. Low thread count fabrics used with water yielded higher quantitation values, but no correlation between thread count and quantitation values was observed with dry fabrics. A low thread count woven fabric, however, outperformed other tested fabrics when swabbing object surfaces in a highly used room. Full DNA profiles from fingerprints on glass surfaces were obtained with low thread count woven and nonwoven fabrics but not with the knit fabric tested.