Characterization of adipocere formation in animal species

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Journal Article
Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2005, 50 (3), pp. 633 - 640
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Adipocere is a soft white substance formed postmortem from fatty tissue in a decomposing body. In this preliminary study the formation of adipocere in soil was investigated for a number of animal species. Adipocere was formed from the fatty tissue of pig, cattle, sheep and rabbit. It was found that adipocere did not form from the fatty tissue of chicken or kangaroo in the time frame investigated. The issues being considered are relevant to the forensic examination of remains whose origin is otherwise uncertain or which are, in some way, related to human remains. Infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry were used to characterise the composition of adipocere formed in the various species after different burial durations. Adipocere was observed to form at different rates among the species, but there was no distinct evidence of the fundamental composition varying between species. Copyright © 2005 by ASTM International.
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