Analytical separations of mammalian decomposition products for forensic science: A review

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Journal Article
Analytica Chimica Acta, 2010, 682 (1-2), pp. 9 - 22
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The study of mammalian soft tissue decomposition is an emerging area in forensic science, with a major focus of the research being the use of various chemical and biological methods to study the fate of human remains in the environment. Decomposition of mammalian soft tissue is a postmortem process that, depending on environmental conditions and physiological factors, will proceed until complete disintegration of the tissue. The major stages of decomposition involve complex reactions which result in the chemical breakdown of the body's main constituents; lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates. The first step to understanding this chemistry is identifying the compounds present in decomposition fluids and determining when they are produced. This paper provides an overview of decomposition chemistry and reviews recent advances in this area utilising analytical separation science. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
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