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Boyd B. Dent – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • A study of Adipocere in soil collected from a field leaching study
    Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2011
    Co-Authors: Joseph Cassar, Barbara H. Stuart, Boyd B. Dent, Stephanie J. Notter, Shari L. Forbes, Christopher O'brien, Ian R. Dadour
    Abstract:

    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 chromatography–mass 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.

  • Solid-phase extraction in combination with GC/MS for the quantification of free fatty acids in Adipocere
    European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, 2008
    Co-Authors: Stephanie J. Notter, Barbara H. Stuart, Boyd B. Dent, Jim Keegan
    Abstract:

    Current research investigating the effect of specific aquatic microenvironments on the formation of Adipocere using domesticated pigs (Sus scrofa) has demonstrated the need for a fast and reliable method to separate and identify fatty acids present in Adipocere. Adipocere is defined as a late-stage post-mortem decomposition product consisting of a mixture of free fattfatty acids (FFA), which have formed under favorable conditions due to the hydrolysis of triglycerides in adipose tissue. Whilst good separations of Adipocere lipids have been achieved using TLC, this method is time consuming when processing large numbers of samples. This paper describes a rapid and simple method for the extraction, identification and quantification of FFA commonly found in Adipocere, by solid-phase extraction (SPE) using aminopropyl disposable columns in combination with GC/MS. The recoveries of FFA associated with Adipocere were all above 90%, with coefficients of variation below 10%, indicating that the technique was reproducible. The limits of quantification were registered at levels of parts per million. Standard curves were linear over the range of 50-1000 μg/mL, with all correlation coefficient values greater than 0.998. A marked increase in concentration of saturated fatty acids was observed during Adipocere formation, ranging from 20 to 55% for palmitic acid, 13 to 23% for stearic acid and 2.8 to 4.1% for myristic acid. These results demonstrate the suitability of aminopropyl disposable SPE columns to efficiently and rapidly isolate FFA from Adipocere prior to quantitative GC/MS analysis.

  • Characterization of Adipocere formation in animal species.
    Journal of forensic sciences, 2005
    Co-Authors: Shari L. Forbes, Barbara H. Stuart, Boyd B. Dent, Sarah Fenwick-mulcahy
    Abstract:

    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.

Shari L. Forbes – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • Arid Climate Adipocere-The Importance of Microenvironment.
    Journal of forensic sciences, 2019
    Co-Authors: Roger W. Byard, Ellie Simpson, Shari L. Forbes
    Abstract:

    Skeletal remains were retrieved from a cave in an arid desert environment. The submitted material consisted of dried grass, soil, and malodorous skeletal remains wrapped in leather. After examination, it was revealed that the smell had not been due to recent decomposition but to Adipocere. The cause of death was listed as “undetermined” and a suggested date of death as “unknown.” Although Adipocere usually requires a damp environment or submersion in water to develop, this case provides further evidence for the rare possibility of Adipocere formation in an otherwise very dry environment. Wrapping of the body in leather material had produced an impermeable barrier which had sequestrated and preserved bodily fluids allowing anaerobic decay with fat hydrolysis and Adipocere formation. Microenvironments may have potentially significant and quite idiosyncratic effects on decompositional processes which may initially confuse investigations.

  • Bacterial populations associated with early-stage Adipocere formation in lacustrine waters
    International Journal of Legal Medicine, 2014
    Co-Authors: Maiken Ueland, Heloise A. Breton, Shari L. Forbes
    Abstract:

    The preservation of soft tissue is a valuable evidence for forensic investigation as it may provide information about the cause and manner of death as well as the time since death. Adipocere forms from the conversion of triglycerides in the neutral fats into stable fatty acids producing a solid white product which aids tissue preservation. Adipocere will typically form in water-logged grave sites and aquatic environments. Documentation on the chemical and microbiological changes that cause Adipocere formation in aquatic environments is scant and mostly based on observational case reports. The aim of this study was to monitor the early Adipocere formation in lacustrine waters to investigate the effect of aquatic bacteria on Adipocere formation. Tissue samples from pork ( Sus scrofa domesticus ) belly were submerged in water samples from Lake Ontario and deionised water (control). Bacteria samples from both water and tissue were harvested. Changes in the fatty acidacid composition of the tissue were determined using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Early-stage Adipocere formation was confirmed on porcine tissue submerged in lake water but was not identified on porcine tissue submerged in deionised water. Adipocere formation required an abundance of gram-positive bacteria during the early postmortem period to assist in lipolysing the triglycerides into free fattfatty acids. Formation of Adipocere in the lake water resulted in a decrease in bacterial concentrations in the tissue over time.

  • Examination of Adipocere formation in a cold water environment
    International Journal of Legal Medicine, 2011
    Co-Authors: Shari L. Forbes, Matthew E. A. Wilson, Barbara H. Stuart
    Abstract:

    Adipocere is a late-stage postmortem decomposition product that forms from the lipids present in soft tissue. Its formation in aquatic environments is typically related to the presence of a moist, warm, anaerobic environment, and the effect of decomposer microorganisms. The ideal temperature range for Adipocere formation is considered to be 21-45°C and is correlated to the optimal conditions for bacterial growth and enzymatic release. However, Adipocere formation has been reported in cooler aquatic environments at considerable depths. This study aimed to investigate the chemical process of Adipocere formation in a cold freshwater environment in Lake Ontario, Canada. Porcine tissue was used as a human tissue analogue and submerged at two depths (i.e., 10 and 30 feet) in the trophogenic zone of the lake. Samples were collected at monthly postmortem submersion intervals and analysed using diffuse reflreflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy to provide a qualitative profile of the lipid degradation and Adipocere formation process. Early stage Adipocere formation occurred rapidly in the cold water environment and proceeded to intermediate stage Adipocere formation by the second month of submersion. However, further Adipocere formation was inhibited in the third month of the study when temperatures approached the freezing point. The depth of submergence did not influence the chemical conversion process as similar stages of Adipocere formation occurred at both depths investigated. The study demonstrated that Adipocere can form rapidly, even on small amounts of soft tissue, which may be representative of dismembered or disarticulated limbs discovered in an aquatic environment.

Barbara H. Stuart – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • The effect of body coverings on the formation of Adipocere in an aqueous environment.
    Journal of forensic sciences, 2011
    Co-Authors: Stephanie J. Notter, Barbara H. Stuart
    Abstract:

    :  Adipocere is a postmortem decomposition product that consists of a mixture of fatty acids. The rate of formation of Adipocere from pig adipose tissue in an aqueous environment has been monitored. The effect of various clothing and carpet material types on the process was investigated. The fatty acidacid composition of the Adipocere was determined at regular intervals using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Examination of the changes to fatty acid concentrations allowed the degree of Adipocere formation in the different environments to be estimated. The study demonstrated that the rate at which Adipocere forms is particularly accelerated by the presence of coverings produced from natural materials. Elemental analysis by inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry revealed, for the most part, little change to the cations present in the Adipocere formed. However, an increase in Ca concentration was observed for tissue wrapped in acrylic carpet, which was associated with a CaCO3 additive used in the carpet manufacture.

  • Examination of Adipocere formation in a cold water environment
    International Journal of Legal Medicine, 2011
    Co-Authors: Shari L. Forbes, Matthew E. A. Wilson, Barbara H. Stuart
    Abstract:

    Adipocere is a late-stage postmortem decomposition product that forms from the lipids present in soft tissue. Its formation in aquatic environments is typically related to the presence of a moist, warm, anaerobic environment, and the effect of decomposer microorganisms. The ideal temperature range for Adipocere formation is considered to be 21-45°C and is correlated to the optimal conditions for bacterial growth and enzymatic release. However, Adipocere formation has been reported in cooler aquatic environments at considerable depths. This study aimed to investigate the chemical process of Adipocere formation in a cold freshwater environment in Lake Ontario, Canada. Porcine tissue was used as a human tissue analogue and submerged at two depths (i.e., 10 and 30 feet) in the trophogenic zone of the lake. Samples were collected at monthly postmortem submersion intervals and analysed using diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy to provide a qualitative profile of the lipid degradation and Adipocere formation process. Early stage Adipocere formation occurred rapidly in the cold water environment and proceeded to intermediate stage Adipocere formation by the second month of submersion. However, further Adipocere formation was inhibited in the third month of the study when temperatures approached the freezing point. The depth of submergence did not influence the chemical conversion process as similar stages of Adipocere formation occurred at both depths investigated. The study demonstrated that Adipocere can form rapidly, even on small amounts of soft tissue, which may be representative of dismembered or disarticulated limbs discovered in an aquatic environment.

  • A study of Adipocere in soil collected from a field leaching study
    Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2011
    Co-Authors: Joseph Cassar, Barbara H. Stuart, Boyd B. Dent, Stephanie J. Notter, Shari L. Forbes, Christopher O'brien, Ian R. Dadour
    Abstract:

    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 chromatography–mass 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.

Matthias Graw – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • First evidence of terrestrial ambrein formation in human Adipocere.
    Scientific reports, 2019
    Co-Authors: Barbara Von Der Lühe, Matthias Graw, Robert W. Mayes, Volker Thiel, Lorna Dawson, Steven J. Rowland, Sabine Fiedler
    Abstract:

    To date, the only known occurrence of ambrein, an important perfumery organic molecule, is in coproliths found in about one in a hundred sperm whales. Jetsam ambergris coproliths from the whale are also found occasionally on beaches worldwide. Here we report on the surprising occurrence of ambrein in human Adipocere. Adipocere is a waxy substance formed post-mortem during incomplete anaerobic decomposition of soft tissues. Adipocere samples obtained from grave exhumations were analysed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In addition to the typical fatty acids of Adipocere, lesser amounts of ambrein were identified in the samples, in abundances similar to those of the major accompanying faecal steroids. The distribution of these compounds suggests that ambrein was produced post-mortem during the microbial decomposition of faecal residues and tissues. It is assumed that the Adipocere matrix of saturated fatty acidsaided the preservation of ambrein over extended periods of time, because Adipocere is stable against degradation. The association of ambrein formation in ageing faecal material, under moist, oxygen-depleted conditions, now requires more attention in studies of other mammalian and geological samples. Indeed, ambrein and its transformation products may be useful novel chemical indicators of aged faecal matter and decomposed bodies.

  • The chemistry of death – Adipocere degradation in modern graveyards
    Forensic science international, 2015
    Co-Authors: Sabine Fiedler, A. E. Berns, Lorenz Schwark, A. T. Woelk, Matthias Graw
    Abstract:

    The formation of Adipocere slows further decomposition and preserves corpses for decades or even centuries. This resistance to degradation is a serious problem, especially with regard to the reuse of graves after regular resting times. We present results from an exhumation series in modern graveyards where coffins from water-saturated earth graves contained Adipocere embedded in black humic material after resting times of about 30 years. Based on the assumption that this humic material resulted from in situ degradation of Adipocere, its presence contradicts the commonly held opinion that Adipocere decomposition only occurs under aerobic conditions. To test our hypothesis, we collected black humic material, Adipocere as well as soil samples above and below coffins from representative graves (n = 7). A comprehensive chemical analysis of the samples substantiated our in situ degradation theory. Element compositions and fatty acid mass spectra confirmed that the humic black material originated from the corpses. A van Krevelen diagram classified the excavated Adipocere material as lipid, whereas the black humic material was closer to the carbohydrate region. Mass fragmentograms of the humic material revealed the presence of large amounts of saturated vs. unsaturated nC(16) and nC(18) fatty acids, which is typical for Adipocere. In addition, the soil samples exhibited a lipid signature deriving primarily from plant waxes and root components (C-20-C-32). Solid-state C-13 NMR spectra of Adipocere displayed well-resolved signals of saturated aliphatic chains and a signal that corresponded to carboxylic acid groups. The NMR spectra of the black humic material revealed signals characteristic of long aliphatic chains. The intensities varied in relation to the state of degradation of the sample, as did the signals of oxidized aliphatic chains, acetals and ketals, aromatic structures, esters and amids. The analyses confirmed that the black humic material was indeed derived from Adipocere, so the assumption is that the components detected must have developed from aliphatic fatty acids via a number of oxidation and condensation processes. We therefore propose the existence of chemical pathway(s) for the degradation of Adipocere under poikiloaerobic conditions. Possible (biogeo) chemical reaction chains include (1) the autoxidation of fatty acids enhanced by haemoglobin, methaemoglobin and haemin, (2) the use of alternative electron acceptors, which leads to the formation of H2S that then reacts abiotically with iron (from haemoglobin), rendering iron sulphide, and (3) the Maillard reaction. These findings are another step forward in understanding the chemistry of buried corpses. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Graveyards – special landfills.
    The Science of the total environment, 2012
    Co-Authors: Sabine Fiedler, Stephanie Holley, J. Breuer, C. M. Pusch, J. Wahl, Joachim Ingwersen, Matthias Graw
    Abstract:

    Graveyards have been a matter of controversial debate for many years in terms of the risk they pose to the environment. However, literature data are inconclusive and there are no systematic studies available from modern graveyards with special reference to soil found in the vicinity of the coffin. To our knowledge, the present study is the first to systematically investigate a comprehensive exhumation series (involving 40 graves) in order to determine burial-related changes in matter and element content. Human burials lead to the accumulation of certain elements, with higher than normal levels of N, C, Zn, Ba, Ca and Na being observed in soils below coffins. Decomposition material inside coffins has much higher levels of heavy metals and alkaline elements than the surrounding soil. However, the major problem observed was the large quantity of synthetic bedding material which is more likely to lead to the formation of Adipocere under the moist conditions given. Adipocere formation, which is the result of the anaerobic bacterial hydrolysis of fat, is known to interrupt the natural decomposition process and delay the post-mortem release of elements. We assume that once the inhumed matter has completely decomposed, much higher than normal levels of pollutants will be released into and have an ecological effect on the soil and water environment.

Sabine Fiedler – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • First evidence of terrestrial ambrein formation in human Adipocere.
    Scientific reports, 2019
    Co-Authors: Barbara Von Der Lühe, Matthias Graw, Robert W. Mayes, Volker Thiel, Lorna Dawson, Steven J. Rowland, Sabine Fiedler
    Abstract:

    To date, the only known occurrence of ambrein, an important perfumery organic molecule, is in coproliths found in about one in a hundred sperm whales. Jetsam ambergris coproliths from the whale are also found occasionally on beaches worldwide. Here we report on the surprising occurrence of ambrein in human Adipocere. Adipocere is a waxy substance formed post-mortem during incomplete anaerobic decomposition of soft tissues. Adipocere samples obtained from grave exhumations were analysed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In addition to the typical fatty acids of Adipocere, lesser amounts of ambrein were identified in the samples, in abundances similar to those of the major accompanying faecal steroids. The distribution of these compounds suggests that ambrein was produced post-mortem during the microbial decomposition of faecal residues and tissues. It is assumed that the Adipocere matrix of saturated fatty acidsaided the preservation of ambrein over extended periods of time, because Adipocere is stable against degradation. The association of ambrein formation in ageing faecal material, under moist, oxygen-depleted conditions, now requires more attention in studies of other mammalian and geological samples. Indeed, ambrein and its transformation products may be useful novel chemical indicators of aged faecal matter and decomposed bodies.

  • Temporal fatty acid profiles of human decomposition fluid in soil
    Organic Geochemistry, 2017
    Co-Authors: Barbara Von Der Lühe, Sabine Fiedler, Robert W. Mayes, Lorna Dawson
    Abstract:

    Abstract We studied the changes in concentration and relative abundance of human-derived fatty acids (FAs) in soil over a period of one year. The study is based on analysis of soil underneath a human body that lay on the soil surface for 18 days before it was discovered. Soil samples were taken when the body was removed, and also 358 days later. Large amounts of the total FA concentration at the start of the measurement period were still present one year after the removal of the body. The FA profile suggested that extensive saturated FA reduction occurred during the first 18 days after deposition. 10-Hydroxystearic acid and FA salts, which are characteristic of Adipocere, were abundant in all soil samples from beneath the body. Myristic acid and 10-hydroxystearic acid concentration declined over time. It was therefore concluded that FAs, still detectable one year after the temporal deposition of a body, can serve as an important indicator of human decomposition fluid in soil. Furthermore, the study suggests that in-situ processes such as the formation of Adipocere promoted the preservation of human-derived FAs over the period of the study.

  • The chemistry of death – Adipocere degradation in modern graveyards
    Forensic science international, 2015
    Co-Authors: Sabine Fiedler, A. E. Berns, Lorenz Schwark, A. T. Woelk, Matthias Graw
    Abstract:

    The formation of Adipocere slows further decomposition and preserves corpses for decades or even centuries. This resistance to degradation is a serious problem, especially with regard to the reuse of graves after regular resting times. We present results from an exhumation series in modern graveyards where coffins from water-saturated earth graves contained Adipocere embedded in black humic material after resting times of about 30 years. Based on the assumption that this humic material resulted from in situ degradation of Adipocere, its presence contradicts the commonly held opinion that Adipocere decomposition only occurs under aerobic conditions. To test our hypothesis, we collected black humic material, Adipocere as well as soil samples above and below coffins from representative graves (n = 7). A comprehensive chemical analysis of the samples substantiated our in situ degradation theory. Element compositions and fatty acid mass spectra confirmed that the humic black material originated from the corpses. A van Krevelen diagram classified the excavated Adipocere material as lipid, whereas the black humic material was closer to the carbohydrate region. Mass fragmentograms of the humic material revealed the presence of large amounts of saturated vs. unsaturated nC(16) and nC(18) fatty acids, which is typical for Adipocere. In addition, the soil samples exhibited a lipid signature deriving primarily from plant waxes and root components (C-20-C-32). Solid-state C-13 NMR spectra of Adipocere displayed well-resolved signals of saturated aliphatic chains and a signal that corresponded to carboxylic acid groups. The NMR spectra of the black humic material revealed signals characteristic of long aliphatic chains. The intensities varied in relation to the state of degradation of the sample, as did the signals of oxidized aliphatic chains, acetals and ketals, aromatic structures, esters and amids. The analyses confirmed that the black humic material was indeed derived from Adipocere, so the assumption is that the components detected must have developed from aliphatic fatty acids via a number of oxidation and condensation processes. We therefore propose the existence of chemical pathway(s) for the degradation of Adipocere under poikiloaerobic conditions. Possible (biogeo) chemical reaction chains include (1) the autoxidation of fatty acids enhanced by haemoglobin, methaemoglobin and haemin, (2) the use of alternative electron acceptors, which leads to the formation of H2S that then reacts abiotically with iron (from haemoglobin), rendering iron sulphide, and (3) the Maillard reaction. These findings are another step forward in understanding the chemistry of buried corpses. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.