The Use of Crossover Immunoelectrophoresis to Detect Human Blood Protein in Soil from an Ambush Scene in Kosovo


  • Presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 17–22, 2003, in Chicago, IL.

  • Supported in parts by grants from Sigma Xi, and the Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Hugh Tuller, M.A.
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command
Central Identification Laboratory
310 Worchester Avenue
JBPHH, HI 96853


Abstract:  This study examines the survivability of human blood proteins in soils from a year and a half old ambush scene in Kosovo. A total of 72 soil samples were collected, a number of which were directly associated with bone fragments or bullet projectiles. The samples were examined using crossover immunoelectrophoresis (CIEP) to determine the presence of blood protein and species affiliation. Human blood proteins were identified in 44 of the 72 samples (61%) with the majority of the positive observations (29 of 44) found 0.0–4.5 cm below ground surface (65%). Chi-squared and two-sample difference of proportions tests confirmed significant differences between samples with and without associated physical evidence and the presence and depth of human blood proteins. While DNA has largely replaced immunological analysis in forensic analyses, our results suggest that in particular situations, CIEP may still be a valuable tool in criminology.