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Evidence of adipocere in a burial pit from the foot and mouth epidemic of 1967 using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

Vane, Christopher H.; Trick, Julian K.. 2005 Evidence of adipocere in a burial pit from the foot and mouth epidemic of 1967 using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Forensic Science International, 154 (1). 19-23. 10.1016/j.forsciint.2004.08.019

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Abstract/Summary

Gas-chromatography–mass spectrometry was used to characterise the fatty acids from soils and associated tissues excavated from a 1967 Foot and Mouth burial pit. Subcutaneous fats were mainly comprised of 55–75% palmitic acid, 17–22% stearic acid and 3–16% oleic acid as well as 5–7% myristic acid. The distribution of fatty acids confirmed that the tissues were decayed to adipocere. The loss of oleic acid to <3% in two of the decayed fats suggested advanced stages of adipocere. However, adipocere formation was limited in a third tissue sample recovered from greater depth. Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry of the pore waters revealed a decrease in Ca concentration and concurrent increase in Na concentrations this suggested that insoluble calcium salt had formed through displacement of sodium. The use of fatty acid profiles from soils and soil interstitial pore waters provide complementary evidence of adipocere formation in foot and mouth burial pits.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.forsciint.2004.08.019
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Other
Date made live: 01 May 2012 14:05
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/17936

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