Observations of the temporal variation in chemical content of decomposition fluid: A preliminary study using pigs as a model system

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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2010, 42 (3), pp. 199 - 210
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In this paper we report the results of our preliminary studies into short chain fatty acids that have the potential to show reproducible patterns over certain postmortem intervals during decomposition in the absence of a soil matrix. Additional compounds that were detected, including several long chain fatty acids, were also investigated for their potential in estimating postmortem interval. Analysis of data was conducted to establish any distinct relationship between the levels of particular compounds produced with respect to time and temperature. Pork rashers (belly pork), whole stillborn piglets and whole adult pig (Sus scrofa) carcasses were used to model the human decomposition process in two separate locations, Western Australia (Perth) and Southern Canada (Oshawa). This enabled a comparison of components to be carried out under significantly different climatic conditions. Compounds were identified after analysis with gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry. Preliminary observations indicate that both short-chain and long-chain acids followed an apparent cyclic trend. All trials showed differences with respect to rate of decomposition, both between trials and between subjects in the same trial; however, the identity of the compounds detected for the pork rasher trial (Perth) and the pig trial (Canada) remained very similar. © 2010 Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences.
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