A study of adipocere in soil collected from a field leaching study

John Rowe
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2011, 43 (1), pp. 3 - 11
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An investigation of a post-mortem product, adipocere, resulting from the decomposition of a pig carcass left on a soil surface is reported. The presence of this material should provide valuable information for forensic investigators: although a body may have been removed from a crime scene, decomposition products may remain in the soil below and the depth to which these are observed can provide insight into the problem of how long a body remained on the soil surface. Infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatographymass spectrometry were used in this study to identify the compounds associated with adipocere, which is comprised of particular fatty acids, in soil samples taken from different depths below the carcass. Both techniques demonstrate that adipocere may be detected in soil beneath a body and the depth to which it is detected is dependent upon the time since the body was deposited on the soil surface.
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