Measurement of ninhydrin reactive nitrogen influx into gravesoil during aboveground and belowground carcass (Sus domesticus) decomposition

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Forensic Science International, 2009, 193 (1-3), pp. 37 - 41
Issue Date:
2009-12-15
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Carcass decomposition results in the release of nitrogenous compounds into associated soil. The current study investigated the release of ninhydrin reactive nitrogen (NRN) following burial (∼40 cm depth) and decomposition on the soil surface. Also investigated was the lateral extent of NRN in gravesoil. NRN concentration increased significantly in gravesoil collected from the center of graves (∼20 cm depth) during the initial two months of burial. A similar finding was also observed in the base of the grave during the initial six months of burial. However, no change in NRN concentration was observed 60 cm from buried carcasses. Carcasses decomposing on the soil surface were associated with higher NRN during the initial 97 days of decomposition. We conclude that the analysis of soil NRN can be a presumptive test for gravesoil within two months postmortem following burial and up to 97 days postmortem on the surface. © 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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