Date of Submission


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Forensic Science


Forensic Science


Robert Powers

Committee Member

Virginia Maxwell

Committee Member

Robert Lockwood


Enzyme Assays, Lactate Dehydrogenase


Blood alcohol--Analysis


Enzymatic ethanol assays are widely used to determine blood alcohol content for individuals admitted to a hospital. In some instances, this hospital data is later used as evidence in a court of law, most commonly in DUI cases. As the enzymatic assay targets, but does not exclusively measure ethanol, it is theoretically possible that interference could occur and produce a falsely elevated result, leading to wrongful convictions or other consequences. This project examined the potential of clinically relevant levels of one potential interferant, lactate and the hepatic enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) to cause significant and falsely elevated results. Threshold levels of lactate/LDH required and the magnitude of the false positive observed were investigated. False positives were investigated in systems containing no ethanol as well as systems containing high, medium, and low levels of ethanol. These objectives were accomplished by adding varying amounts of lactate, LDH, and ethanol to a simulated hospital assay on a UV-Vis spectrophotometer. The data from this experiment may be applied by forensic toxicologists and pathologists in the interpretation of hospital enzymatic alcohol assay results.

Available for download on Sunday, May 01, 2022