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Abstract

In-soil human decomposition is comprehensively described in terms of the physico-chemical and bacterial environmental conditions. Much of the understanding comes from considerations of cemetery studies and experimentation with adipocere. The understandings are relevant for further studies in cemetery management, exhumations, forensic investigations and anthropology. In the soil, cadavers are subject to various sets of decomposition processes principally resulting from aerobic (usually the initial) or anaerobic (usually the sustaining) conditions. The presence of percolating groundwater and microorganisms further affects the rate of breakdown and fate of the products. The major human tissue components—protein, carbohydrate, fat and bone, are discussed; and the likely pathways of decomposition products enumerated. The effects of liquefaction, availability of oxygen and other in-grave processes are considered.

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... The decomposition of a cadaver (human or non-human) involves a nexus of spontaneous post-mortem changes that can occur soon after death, after days, months years or even after it becomes lithified [1,2]. It is a dynamic process that can have variable duration based on the cadaver itself ("intrinsic factors", e.g., the size of the cadaver and the cause of death) and the depositional environment ("extrinsic factors", e.g., the geographic location, the season and the type of burial). ...
... There is a consensus across the literature that a natural decomposition of a complete cadaver in a temperate terrestrial environment consists of five stages of biochemical processes [2,5]. Starting with the 'fresh' stage promptly after death, autolytic processes result in cellular digestion [2]. ...
... There is a consensus across the literature that a natural decomposition of a complete cadaver in a temperate terrestrial environment consists of five stages of biochemical processes [2,5]. Starting with the 'fresh' stage promptly after death, autolytic processes result in cellular digestion [2]. As an effect of autolysis, bacteria induce a putrefactive process known as the 'bloated' phase, whereby gaseous odour production, colour change and abdominal bloating occur. ...
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Archaeoentomology is the study of insects and other arthropods recovered from an archaeological site; they can be found in association with ancient human and animal remains, food, artefacts or they can be related to the environment and its changes throughout the time. Within archaeoentomology, the branch of “funerary archeoentomology” considers insects and other arthropods especially in association with human remains in funerary and burial contexts. The presence and the location of certain insect species closely associated with or nearby the remains, can be valuable in gathering information about the ecological situation at the time of burial and the changes that occurred in the environment up until the discovery of the body. Funerary archaeoentomology investigations have been carried out globally, primarily in countries like Italy, Peru, the United Kingdom and France. Similarly to forensic entomology contexts, the abundance and diversity of insects are affected by the type of burial, the macro and micro-environment of and surrounding the burial, the items associated with the cadaver, the post-mortem practices, and the time that has elapsed from the body deposition to the discovery and the excavation. While funerary archaeoentomology and forensic entomology remain two well-distinguished disciplines, the sampling practice, the insect identification process, and the analyses of the burial ecology in funerary archaeoentomology studies follow the best practices and the general guidelines of forensic entomology. In both disciplines, the correct identification of the insects is key to providing correct information. Various methods have proven effective for insect identification, i.e., morphological, molecular and chemical analysis.
... Moreover, through the combined analysis of multiple different panels of omics, greater precision and accuracy of PMI estimation can potentially be achieved. Biomolecular decomposition is caused by both enzymatic and microbial breakdown of large molecules, resulting in the breakage of proteins into amino acids (AA), of carbohydrates into more simple monosaccharides, and of lipids into simpler fatty acids chains (Dent et al., 2004;Nolan et al., 2020). In carbohydrate decomposition, the complex polysaccharides are normally broken down via microbial activity into smaller units of monosaccharides. ...
... This breakdown can be fully achieved by oxidation, with the production of carbon dioxide and water, or can be partially achieved with the production of organic acids and alcohols. Alternatively, the monosaccharides can be degraded by fungal activity into glucuronic, citric, and oxalic acids, or by bacteria into lactic, butyric, and acetic acids (Dent et al., 2004;Stuart, 2013). During the decay of lipids, free saturated and unsaturated fatty acids are released due to the hydrolysis mediated by the action of intrinsic lipases released after death. ...
... Protein degradation is primarily an enzyme-driven process, led by the action of proteases, which occurs at different rates for different proteins and tissues. Proteolytic enzymes induce the hydrolytic breakdown of proteins and the production respectively of proteoses, peptones, polypeptides, and finally AA, which can be further modified via deamination (production of ammonia), decarboxylation (production of cadaverine, putrescine, tyramine, tryptamine, indole, skatole, and carbon dioxide) and desulfhydralation (production of hydrogen sulphide, pyruvic acid, and thiols) (Dent et al., 2004;Stuart, 2013). Time-dependent non-enzymatic processes can also affect protein degradation and modifications (i.e.,deamidations). ...
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The combined use of multiple omics allows to study complex interrelated biological processes in their entirety. We applied a combination of metabolomics, lipidomics and proteomics to human bones to investigate their combined potential to estimate time elapsed since death (i.e., the postmortem interval [PMI]). This 'ForensOMICS' approach has the potential to improve accuracy and precision of PMI estimation of skeletonized human remains, thereby helping forensic investigators to establish the timeline of events surrounding death. Anterior midshaft tibial bone was collected from four female body donors before their placement at the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility owned by the Forensic Anthropological Center at Texas State (FACTS). Bone samples were again collected at selected PMIs (219-790-834-872days). Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was used to obtain untargeted metabolomic, lipidomic, and proteomic profiles from the pre- and post-placement bone samples. The three omics blocks were investigated independently by univariate and multivariate analyses, followed by Data Integration Analysis for Biomarker discovery using Latent variable approaches for Omics studies (DIABLO), to identify the reduced number of markers describing postmortem changes and discriminating the individuals based on their PMI. The resulting model showed that pre-placement metabolome, lipidome and proteome profiles were clearly distinguishable from post-placement ones. Metabolites in the pre-placement samples suggested an extinction of the energetic metabolism and a switch towards another source of fuelling (e.g., structural proteins). We were able to identify certain biomolecules with an excellent potential for PMI estimation, predominantly the biomolecules from the metabolomics block. Our findings suggest that, by targeting a combination of compounds with different postmortem stability, in the future we could be able to estimate both short PMIs, by using metabolites and lipids, and longer PMIs, by using proteins.
... The process of adipocere formation begins in the neutral fat and is initiated by intrinsic lipases, which degrade the major constituents of lipids (i.e., triglycerides) [58]. During this process, triglycerides are converted into fatty acids, which lead to the loss of integrity of the fat cells (i.e., adipocytes). ...
... Anaerobic microbial degradation of fatty acids yields polyhydroxy fatty acids, which are no longer water-soluble and remain in their initial position [62]. Therefore, the presence of anaerobic bacteria originating from the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts [63], or the soil and air in the later stages of decomposition, is strongly associated with the formation of adipocere [58]. In particular, the main bacteria contributing to the formation of adipocere are Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, and some species of the Pseudomonas genus [51]. ...
... In general, three stages can be distinguished in the formation of adipocere [58]. At an early stage, triglycerides predominate as only small amounts of tissue undergo alteration into adipocere. ...
Article
Residue analysis is an established area of expertise focused on detecting traces of substances found on the surface of objects. It is routinely employed in forensic casework and increasingly incorporated into archaeological investigations. In archaeology, sampling and data interpretation sometimes lacked strict standards, resulting in incorrect residue classifications. In particular, molecular signals of salts of fatty acids identified by FTIR have been, at times, interpreted as evidence for adipocere, a substance formed as a consequence of adipose tissues' degradation. This article reviews and discusses the possibilities and limitations of the analytical protocols used in residue analysis in archaeology. The focus is on three main points: (1) reviewing the decomposition processes and the chemical components of adipocere; (2) highlighting potential misidentifications of adipocere while, at the same time, addressing issues related to residue preservation and contamination; and (3) proposing new research avenues to identify adipocere on archaeological objects.
... As an abiotic environmental taphonomic agent, soil plays an important role in human decomposition and preservation. To better understand the bilateral relation between soil and buried human bodies, studies have been conducted over the years using human remains which have been donated to science [23][24][25], exhumations carried out in cemeteries [26,27], and experiments performed with non-human animals used as proxies [25,[28][29][30]. Although forensic experts can analyse a long list of physical, chemical, and biological soil properties, the authors have summarized and discussed eight specific proprieties as presented in Table 2. ...
... While bone is better preserved in slightly alkaline and neutral soils [30,33], according to scientific literature, human mummification can occur in both acidic and alkaline environments [51,52]. Proof of that is the analysis conducted at the Oriental Cemetery (Figueira da Foz, Portugal) where mean values of soil pH varied between 8.20 and 8.24, and two bodies were completely mummified [26]. ...
... Soil data will automatically be influenced by the direct contact of soil with any vegetation or with body fluids of a decomposing corpse. It is also important to consider cases where experimental studies fail to consider the presence of a coffin in human taphonomy; a body will decompose differently if in direct contact with soil, and the bilateral relation between both will also be different [30]. ...
Article
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Cemeteries from the European Romantic period (18th–19th centuries) are often compared to small cities that hold memories, art, and history. Portuguese public cemeteries were first established in 1835 and became an interesting combination of fauna, flora, and monumental sculptures to mourn the dead at a location outside the limits of the city. Over the past 187 years, laws have been created and amended taking into consideration the needs of the population and the scientific knowledge available at each time point in history. Nevertheless, cemeteries have long been struggling with the lack of burial space which has been emphasised during the two years of the COVID pandemic. This work aims to review the development of Portuguese public cemeteries since their establishment, highlighting the imposed measures for the inhumation and exhumation of the deceased. It will also discuss the importance of soil as an abiotic agent, focusing on eight specific soil properties and their significance on the characterisation of graves. It is expected that a better understanding of the impact of soil on human taphonomy supports the role of city halls in managing public cemeteries, particularly the lack of burial space.
... The processes of autolysis and putrefaction commence during the stage of early decomposition. Autolysis refers to the chemical breakdown of the cells and tissue by enzymes known as 'autodigestion' (Dent, Forbes and Stuart, 2004;Hamilton and Green, 2017;Byard, 2020). Initiated by the mechanisms of autolysis, immunosuppression barriers no longer function, permitting micro-organisms to take over the body and use the tissues as a source of nutrients. ...
... Initiated by the mechanisms of autolysis, immunosuppression barriers no longer function, permitting micro-organisms to take over the body and use the tissues as a source of nutrients. This process of bacterial growth contributing to organ and soft tissue disintegration is called putrefaction (Dent, Forbes and Stuart, 2004;Hamilton and Green, 2017;Byard, 2020). The first visible sign of proliferation of bacteria during putrefaction is a green abdominal discolouration. ...
... Aerobic organisms deplete the tissues of oxygen and, although their numbers are reduced as the available oxygen diminishes, they create favourable chemical conditions for anaerobic organisms. Anaerobic organisms are derived from the gastrointestinal tract but may also migrate from the soil into the remains during the later stages of decay (Evans, 1963;Dent, Forbes and Stuart, 2004) (more on oxygen in burials see section 'environmental variables' below). ...
... Bones are continually exchanging with the elements within the environment and are turning over at an average of 7-10 years (Dent et al. 2004;Fahy et al. 2017;Hedges et al. 2007). Turnover is based on various factors such as biological age, bone type, and nutritional status (Dent et al. 2004;Fahy et al. 2017;Hedges et al. 2007;Pollard et al. 2017;Sealy et al. 1995). ...
... Bones are continually exchanging with the elements within the environment and are turning over at an average of 7-10 years (Dent et al. 2004;Fahy et al. 2017;Hedges et al. 2007). Turnover is based on various factors such as biological age, bone type, and nutritional status (Dent et al. 2004;Fahy et al. 2017;Hedges et al. 2007;Pollard et al. 2017;Sealy et al. 1995). For instance, if an individual moves from one geological area to another, the 87 Sr/ 86 Sr values in the bones begin to equilibrate to the 87 Sr/ 86 Sr values of the new area, therefore, displaying an average between the two locations (Ericson 1985;Hedges et al. 2007;Price et al. 2015), granted that they are geologically different. ...
... Diagenesis is an important research topic (e.g., Lambert et al. 1985Lambert et al. , 1989Lambert et al. , 1990Madgwick et al. 2012;Nelson et al. 1986;Price et al. 1992;Sillen 1986), where it relies on a variety of material-specific and environment-specific parameters (Dent et al. 2004;Keenan 2016;Kendall et al. 2018;Lambert 1997;Madgwick et al. 2012). For instance, in life, the inorganic and organic portions of the bone are protected from the external environment by a closed system with controlled pH levels (Turner-Walker 2007). ...
Article
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Strontium isotopic and concentration results from archeological skeletons have proved useful in demonstrating human and animal mobility patterns, and dietary life-history. This initiated the movement from proxies to answer these questions. However, there remains an issue as to whether the produced isotopic and concentration values are those accumulated by an individual during life and not an analytical artifact or the result of remaining diagenetic material or other forms of contamination. Over the last 40 years, there have been a variety of protocols used with varying success to remove contaminants prior to analysis, as well as a movement from bone analysis to solely enamel. This review covers the evolution of pretreatment protocols, the role of technological advances in producing accurate and precise results, and a discussion of best practices. Archeological case studies will demonstrate the evolution of these topics as well as their limitations and potential.
... Nitrogen in protein is broken down by microbes during proteolysis into amino acids, and the microbes more readily uptake lighter N14 compared to heavier N15 (Balzer et al. 1997), while additionally the production of ammonia during degradation further expels more lighter N14 (Keenan and DeBruyn 2019), both of which result in source tissues becoming enriched in d 15 N. However, for carbon, some bacteria selectively break down isotopically heavier amino acids which results in depleted d 13 C, while light isotopes are expelled more than heavy isotopes during production of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) leaving d 13 C enriched (Dent et al. 2004;Balzer et al. 1997). These processes result in a consistent direction of effect for nitrogen, but conflicting possible directions for changes in carbon isotope values. ...
... Microorganisms can also selectively break down isotopically heavier amino acids thereby decreasing the substrate 13 C: 12 C ratio and depleting its d 13 C (e.g., Macko et al. 1994). However, light isotopes are expelled more than heavy isotopes during the production of gases such as carbon dioxide, leaving d 13 C enriched (Dent et al. 2004;Balzer et al. 1997). Our two tissues that were exposed (skin and adipose fin) were enriched by 0.85% and 0.86%, respectively, after 4 days, whereas the tissue encased in the body (muscle) was depleted by 0.35% at 4 days and 0.19% at 8 days, which we infer means that more carbon dioxide may have been produced on surface tissues under aerobic conditions, both in air and under water, as described for human decomposition by Dent et al. (2004). ...
... However, light isotopes are expelled more than heavy isotopes during the production of gases such as carbon dioxide, leaving d 13 C enriched (Dent et al. 2004;Balzer et al. 1997). Our two tissues that were exposed (skin and adipose fin) were enriched by 0.85% and 0.86%, respectively, after 4 days, whereas the tissue encased in the body (muscle) was depleted by 0.35% at 4 days and 0.19% at 8 days, which we infer means that more carbon dioxide may have been produced on surface tissues under aerobic conditions, both in air and under water, as described for human decomposition by Dent et al. (2004). While samples in water were too degraded to allow for stable isotope analysis at 8 days, we were able to test samples in air. ...
Article
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Dead animals may be an important or the only source of tissues to analyze for stable isotopes, with the goal of making inferences about an animal’s past ecological history. However, in nature, stable isotope values may be affected by myriad decomposition processes, such as abiotic environmental conditions and bacterial and fungal decay, potentially reducing the accuracy of derived ecological conclusions. We used Pacific salmon carcasses left in air or submerged under water to test whether stable isotope values of metabolically active (skin, muscle, and adipose fin) and inactive (scale) tissues changed over time. We found that the δ13C values of active tissues were all affected by decomposition but not in a predictable direction, and hard scale tissue was not. In contrast, there was no effect on δ15N values for any tissue up to 4 days under water or 8 days in air. This suggests that tissues can be analyzed for nitrogen stable isotope values even after several days in water and even if covered in fungus on the surface. For populations within which dead animals are frequently encountered, e.g., salmonid carcass surveys, hard tissues of fish (scales, otoliths) and other animals (baleen, bone, hair, feathers) will likely yield relevant biological information even if soft tissue is rotting, providing another avenue to collect important data about the life history of those animals.
... From an ecological perspective, a cadaver is an organic resource that interacts with the environment [10]. Therefore, intrinsic factors (age, sex, cause of death) [11] and extrinsic factors (soil, moisture, temperature, activity of scavengers) [9,[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]] play a crucial role in the study of skeletal remains. Compared with intrinsic factors, the influence of extrinsic factors is more important. ...
... When skeletal remains are discovered outside, soil considerations are essential. In the soil, cadavers undergo various sets of decomposition processes mainly resulting from aerobic (usually initial) or anaerobic (usually sustaining) conditions [15]. The effects of temperature and moisture have been described in previous studies. ...
... Low moisture promotes desiccation, whereas in a high moisture environment, decomposition is slower and is related to the formation of adipocere [14,17]. Of course, these processes are accompanied by the related role of microorganisms [15,[18][19][20]. ...
Article
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The identification of antemortem and postmortem fractures is a critical and challenging task for forensic researchers. Based on our preliminary studies, we explored whether the combination of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and chemometrics can identify antemortem and postmortem fractures in complex environments. The impacts of the four environments on the bone spectrum were analyzed by principal component analysis (PCA). It was found that the bone degradation rate in the submerged and ground surface (GS) environments was higher than that in the buried and constant temperature and moisture (CTM) environments. Additionally, the bone degradation rate in buried environment higher than that in the CTM environment. The average spectrum, PCA and partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) results all revealed that there were significant differences between the antemortem fracture and the remaining three groups in a complex environment. Compared with the antemortem fracture, the antemortem fracture control (AFC) and postmortem fracture control (PFC) tended to be more similar to the postmortem fracture. According to the loading plot, amide I and amide II were the main components that contributed to the identification of the antemortem fracture, AFC, postmortem fracture, and PFC. Finally, we established a differential model for the antemortem and postmortem fractures (an accuracy of 96.9%), and a differentiation model for the antemortem fracture, AFC, postmortem fracture, and PFC (an accuracy of 87.5%). In conclusion, FTIR spectroscopy is a reliable tool for the identification of antemortem and postmortem fractures in complex environments.
... Gun-related crimes in the U.S. have great impacts on individuals and communities, resulting in emotional and physical trauma (Carrega, 2019;Dent et al., 2004;National Institute of Justice, 2019;Herrmann & Bennett, 1999;Tersigni-Tarrant & Shirley, 2012;Sanger-Katz & Bui, 2019;Towers et al., 2015). Forensic anthropologists need to understand how various factors influence methods commonly used to detect and distinguish trauma. ...
... This method was modified slightly for this study to quicken the process (i.e., utilizing enzymatic maceration in which chemical enzymes are used to accelerate the breakdown of soft tissue). The pig samples soaked in a kettle for roughly nine hours with increased temperature at about 100℃ and 1-2 oz of Alconox Terg-a-zyme® powdered detergent to aid in the breakdown of the soft tissues (Dent et al., 2004). Once the soft tissues were broken down, the cartilage and soft tissues were manually removed using Dawn® dish soap, a plastic toothbrush, and metal utensils including scalpels and tweezers. ...
Article
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A significant portion of forensic anthropological cases involve decomposed or fragmented human skeletal remains. When testifying in a courtroom, often the focus is on trauma interpretation and distinguishing between blunt force trauma, sharp force trauma, or high-velocity projectile trauma. Therefore, forensic anthropologists need to understand how various factors and processes alter human remains during the decomposition process and how those changes affect the interpretation of skeletal trauma patterns. The primary research question addressed in this study is: how does the decomposition and processing of human remains impact the preservation of metallic fragments from gunshot trauma? Fifteen hog (Sus scrofa) crania were shot using hollow-point and full-metal jacketed 9mm ammunition with an 8-foot firing distance. Eight skinless slabs of hog ribs were shot using the same ammunition types as the crania. All hog samples decomposed in an outdoor environment under metal cages to prevent scavenging. Radiographs were taken of each hog sample before and after decomposition and after processing. The results show metallic fragments from the bullet embedding in the soft tissue more frequently than in the hard tissue. Scavengers, mummification, and processing are three critical factors that were found to influence the removal/preservation of metallic fragments during the decomposition process.
... In normal situation organs decompose within few days. Decomposition is essentially a biological and biochemical phenomenon, caused by enzymes that are already present in the body, by digestive enzymes and the activities of exogenous flora and fauna colonizing the remains (6,7). Tissues, organs, and body parts are also kept for various reasons, including research, teaching, record-keeping (museum specimen), and forensics. ...
... Organic tissue with its natural state cannot stay more than a day without decomposition. The decomposition process occurs by two mechanisms, autolysis and putrefaction (6,7). Both types occur in the presence of body fluid. ...
Article
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The teaching of veterinary anatomy was started in line with the establishment of the first veterinary school in Lyon in 1762. During this time fewer tools and techniques were available for displaying and visualization of organs in order to teach anatomy. Over the years, many methods, tools, and techniques that are essential for veterinary students and anatomists were developed. Teaching materials like cadaver which preserved by formalin has being using for a long time. Instead of preserved cadavers, various teaching materials have also been using in different parts of the world. These alternative techniques were not hopeful to meet the professional challenges in the medical and veterinary sciences. In 1977, Dr. Gunther von Hagens came up with an exclusive method, for the preservation of biological materials, called plastination. In the process of plastination body fluids and lipids in biological tissues replace with epoxy silicone and polyester polymers. Plastinated specimens are an excellent alternative to formalin-fixed specimens. Plastination brings not only three-dimensional and cross-sectional specimens for teaching and research, but also durable, clean, non-toxic materials for students. Plastinates are also convenient to handle, transport, and store. Three major methods used in plastination are silicone, sheet plastination with epoxy method and sheet plastination with polyester method. Silicone plastination is the most adaptable technique for cadavers, whole body or organ slices. Relative to the other plastination methods, it is widely used for teaching veterinary anatomy. Sheet plastination with polyester resin has been used for the production of opaque brain slices, while sheet plastination with epoxy resins are used for transparent body or organ slices. Using of anatomic specimens after plastination can be quite efficient for both theoretical and practical courses. Toksik kadavralardan, biyolojik güvenli örneklere plastinasyonun veteriner anatomideki kısa tarihçesi ÖZET: Veteriner anatomi eğitimi, 1762 yılında Lyon'da ilk veteriner okulunun kurulması ile başladı. O dönemlerde anatomi öğretimi için organların sergilenmesi ve görülmesi amacıyla oldukça sınırlı yöntemler ve teknikler bulunmaktaydı. Yıllar içerisinde, veteriner hekimliği öğrencileri ve anatomistler için vazgeçilmez olan birçok yöntem teknik ve ekipman geliştirildi. Kadavralar gibi formalin ile hazırlanmış eğitim materyalleri çok uzun zaman kullanıldı. Dünyanın farklı yerlerinde kadavraların muhafaza edilmesi yerine çeşitli öğretim materyalleri de kullanılmaktadır. Bu alternatif teknikler bile, tıp ve veteriner hekimlik bilimlerindeki mesleki zorluklarla başetme konusunda çok umut vaad etmiyordu. 1977'de Dr. Gunther von Hagens; biyolojik materyallerin korunması için plastinasyon adı verilen özel bir yöntem geliştirdi. Plastinasyon sürecinde, biyolojik dokulardaki vücut sıvıları ve lipidlerin, epoksi silikon ve polyester polimerler ile değiştirmesi sağlanmaktadır. Plastine edilmiş örnekler, formalinle tespit edilmiş numunelere göre mükemmel bir alternative olarak görülmektedir. Plastinasyon, sadece öğretim ve araştırma için üç boyutlu ve kesit örnekler değil, aynı zamanda öğrenciler için dayanıklı, temiz, toksik olmayan materyaller de sağlar. Plastinatların işlenmesi, taşınması ve depolanması da oldukça kolaydır. Plastinasyonda kullanılan başlıca üç yöntem; silikon, epoksi yöntemiyle kesitsel plastinasyon ve polyester yöntemiyle kesitsel plastinasyondur. Silikon plastinasyonu; kadavra, tüm vücut veya organ kesitleri için en uygun tekniktir. Diğer plastinasyon yöntemlerine göre veteriner anatomi öğretiminde yaygın olarak kullanılmaktadır. Opak beyin dilimlerinin üretiminde polyester polimer ile kesit plastinasyonu, şeffaf gövde veya organ dilimleri için de epoksi resinlerle kesit plastinasyonu kullanılabilmektedir. Anatomik örneklerin plastine edildikten sonra kullanılması; hem teorik hem de uygulamalı dersler için oldukça verimli olabilmektedir.
... Previous studies (Jonker & Olivier, 2012;Neckel et al., 2021) have shown significant exceedances of the content of ions from decomposition and these can be considered a threat to human health and life. The rate of degradation is promoted by high nutrients in the subsurface, neutral soil pH, warm temperatures, well-drained soils, and burial practices promoting accessibility of the corpse to decay by invertebrates and vertebrates (Trick et al., 1999;Dent et al., 2004;da Costa Silva & Malagutti Filho, 2012;Fiedler et al., 2012;Żychowski & Bryndal, 2015). ...
... This changes the redox conditions, while also increasing moisture content to levels which can induce further vertical percolation or lateral flow of water. This is enhanced through compacting backfill or allowing depressions in backfilled soil, while the converse is true for mounded backfill whereby surface runoff and resulting erosion is more pronounced (Dent et al., 2004). ...
Article
The recent COVID-19 disease has highlighted the need for further research around the risk to human health and the environment because of mass burial of COVID-19 victims. Despite SARS-CoV-2 being an enveloped virus, which is highly susceptible to environmental conditions (temperature, solar/UV exposure). This review provides insight into the potential of SARS-CoV-2 to contaminate groundwater through burial sites, the impact of various types of burial practices on SARS-CoV-2 survival, and current knowledge gaps that need to be addressed to ensure that humans and ecosystems are adequately protected from SARS-CoV-2. Data available shows temperature is still likely to be the driving factor when it comes to survival and infectivity of SARS-CoV-2. Research conducted at cemetery sites globally using various bacteriophages (MS2, PRD1, faecal coliforms) and viruses (TGEV, MHV) as surrogates for pathogenic enteric viruses to study the fate and transport of these viruses showed considerable contamination of groundwater, particularly where there is a shallow vadose zone and heterogeneous structures are known to exist with very low residence times. In addition, changes in solution chemistry (e.g., decrease in ionic strength or increase in pH) during rainfall events produces large pulses of released colloids that can result in attached viruses becoming remobilised, with implications for groundwater contamination. Viruses cannot spread unaided through the unsaturated zone. Since groundwater is too deep to be in contact with the interred body and migration rates are very slow, except where preferential flow paths are known to exist, the groundwater table will not be significantly impacted by contamination from SARS-CoV-2. When burial takes place using scientifically defensible methods the possibility of infection will be highly improbable. Furthermore, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has helped us to prepare for other eventualities such as natural disasters where mass fatalities and subsequently burials may take place in a relatively short space of time.
... For blood as well as for urine, a lot of reference material is available to determine correlation between drug concentration and effect. However, in some cases when extended time has elapsed before a body is discovered, blood and urine are not available anymore (5). Since skeletal tissue withstands degradation, it may pose a valid alternative when other specimens are degraded. ...
... Blood samples were extracted using a simple protein precipitation procedure as reported by our group (19,22). Onehundred microliters of this blood was spiked with 10 µL of codeine-d 3 (1 µg/mL), 10 µL of morphine-d 3 (1 µg/mL), 10 µL of cis-tramadol-C13-d 3 (1 µg/mL), 10 µL of fentanyl-d 5 (1 µg/mL) and 10 µL of norfentanyl-d 5 (1 µg/mL) followed by a protein precipitation. A ring of 1 cm width was serrated 1 cm from the center of the proximal clavicle head. ...
Article
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Every year, thousands of suspicious deaths are accounted for by an overdose of opioids. Occasionally all traditional matrices are unavailable due to decomposition. Skeletal tissue may pose a valid alternative. However, reference data on post-mortem concentrations in bone tissue and bone marrow is sparse. Therefore, a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method was developed and fully validated for the analysis of 4 opioids and 2 metabolites (tramadol, O-desmethyltramadol, morphine, fentanyl, norfentanyl, codeine) in bone tissue and bone marrow. Sample preparation was performed using solid phase extraction (bone marrow), methanolic extraction (bone) and a protein precipitation (whole blood). All validation parameters were successfully fulfilled. This method was applied to analyze 22 forensic cases involving opioids. All 6 opioids were proven to be detectable and quantifiable in all specimens sampled. When tramadol blood concentrations were correlated with bone concentrations, a linear trend could be detected. The same was seen between tramadol blood and bone marrow concentration. A similar linear trend was seen when correlating codeine blood concentration with bone and bone marrow concentration. Although some variability was detected, the same linear trend was seen for morphine. For fentanyl and norfentanyl, the sample size was too small to draw conclusions, regarding correlation. As far as the authors know this is the first-time fentanyl and norfentanyl are quantified in skeletal tissue. In conclusion, due to the absence of reference data for drugs in skeletal tissue, these findings are a step forward towards a more thorough understanding of drug concentration found in post-mortem skeletal tissue.
... In particular, the presence of a first peak of the concentration of both the analytes at a PBI of 47 days for site A and 42 days for site B (Figure 2 and 3) confirmed what has been affirmed in previous studies, which recognized an analogous peak concentration of the element after 36 days [12] and 40 days [13]. This soil condition can be attributed to an input of the chemical element from cadavers because the tissues store proteins, sugar phosphates, phospholipids, and other many compounds [35,36] and can be released to the environment during the decomposition processes. ...
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The permanence of a buried body in soil always induces the formation of a decomposition island that can serve as a significant recording location to understand how the persistence of a clandestine grave affects soil. This study aims to analyze the elemental exchange from buried bodies to soil, with a focus on phosphorus content, and to determine the effects of environmental factors on its persistency. The experiment was carried out using eleven swine carcasses buried in an open site (northern Italy). The analyses were performed using the Olsen P method, which allowed for a recognition of the trend of the amount of phosphorus over time, due to the decomposition of phospholipids, followed by the transfer of the element from bone to soil. Additionally, microanalyses performed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM-EDS) on two different soil sample specimens (i.e., “dust” and “plug”) allowed for the identification of numerous phosphatic features (i.e., coatings, infillings, impregnations, and organo-mineral associations), which are the result of the interaction between soil and body fluids and can thus be used as indicators of the former presence of decomposing body (even in its absence). The ultramicroscopic analysis also shows increasing and decreasing amounts of P2O5 over time in the soil, which could be related to environmental conditions (i.e., soil moisture), due to the leaching of phosphorus induced by the percolation of natural rainwater. The study underlines the potential use of these methods to evaluate the possibility of a cadaver‒soil linkage and of assessing the burial in the soil for a variable period. Moreover, the study may aid in analyzing the dynamics of phosphorus migration from buried bodies to soil during and after the decomposition process.
... The main composition of fresh human tissues are proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids [5]. During decomposition, the degradation by-products of these materials are released from the body, and into the immediate environment [6,7]. As these molecular by-products are related to the rate and manner of decomposition, they are considered to be soft-tissue biomarkers of decomposition [8][9][10][11]. ...
Article
The ability to determine the post-mortem interval (PMI) in complex death investigations involving human remains, is a vital task faced by law enforcement. Establishing the PMI in a case can significantly aid in the reconstruction of forensically relevant events surrounding that death. However, due to the complexities surrounding the decomposition of human remains, the determination of the PMI still remains a challenge in some cases. Thus, the identification of biomarkers of human decomposition are an emerging, and essential, area of research. Previous studies have also demonstrated great success in the use of textiles as a host to indirectly capture decomposition by-products. This study reports the successful adaptation and optimisation of an analytical chemical workflow for the targeted analysis of lipids from textiles associated with decomposing human remains using gas-chromatography (GC) coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). This study discusses novel information regarding the complex challenges of matrix effects observed with decomposition samples. In addition, the first lipid profiles obtained from textiles associated with two decomposing human donors from the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) using GC-MS/MS are presented.
... Decompositional processes depend, to a large extent, on environmental factors, including temperature, humidity, light, rainfall, soil, location, and the condition of the corpse et cetera [31][32][33][34]. ...
Article
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Decompositional processes depend on temperature, humidity, and light, as well as on animals that can access the body. In low-level cases, suicides, or cases of self-neglect especially, these factors are not always taken into consideration because a full investigation may not have taken place. Misinterpretations of environmental factors can put crime scene investigators on the wrong track, and natural causes of missing tissue may be wrongly interpreted as violence or wounds. Here, we give some examples for the influence of invertebrate land animals on corpses.
... Soil pH response may have varied due to relative ratios of fat and muscle decomposition products associated with individuals of different BMIs. Fat tissue contains 60% to 85% lipids (39), which are hydrolyzed into stearic, oleic, and palmitic acid, while decomposition of muscle tissue releases ammonium (NH 4 1 ). Therefore, a greater proportion of acidic products would be expected in individuals with more fat tissue, resulting in decreased soil pH. ...
Article
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ABSTRACT Microorganisms are key decomposers of vertebrate mortalities, breaking down body tissues and impacting decomposition progress. During human decomposition, both extrinsic environmental factors and intrinsic cadaver-related factors have the potential to impact microbial decomposers either directly or indirectly via altered physical or chemical conditions. While extrinsic factors (e.g., temperature, humidity) explain some variation in microbial response during human decomposition in terrestrial settings, recent work has noted that even under the same environmental conditions, individuals can have different decomposition patterns, highlighting the potential for intrinsic factors to impact microbial decomposers. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of several intrinsic factors (age, sex, diseases at time of death, and body mass index [BMI]) on chemical and microbial changes in decomposition-impacted soils. In a field study conducted at the University of Tennessee Anthropology Research Facility, soils were collected from the decomposition-impacted area surrounding 19 deceased human individuals through the end of active decomposition. Soil physicochemical parameters were measured, and microbial (bacterial and fungal) communities were assessed via amplicon sequencing. BMI was shown to explain some variation in soil pH and microbial response to human decomposition. Hierarchical linear mixed (HLM) effects models revealed that BMI category significantly explained variation in pH response within decomposition-impacted soils over time (HLM F = 9.647; P
... Other burials have occurred in local cemeteries, potentially at greater depths, which will experience reduced temperatures and oxygen compared to the ambient conditions [83,84]. Notably, bodies buried in mass graves may experience differential decomposition with some bodies decomposing and others preserving, or both occurring simultaneously across different parts of the same body [85]. ...
... The authors explained the composition of the soil, which is sandy clay and clayey mantle. Which facilitates the contamination of the underground water (Dent et al., 2004). ...
Article
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In recent years the funeral industry has drawn attention from the scientific community concerning the potential pollution of the environment and the urban environment. In this review, the pollution caused by the cemeteries and crematoria around the world was addressed. The traditional burial leads to the production of ions, in the form of organic and heavy metals, bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that spread along with the soil and underwater. The crematoria produce small particles, trace gases (SOx, NOx, CO), and toxic organic volatiles. The effluent generated by both methods can lead to several environmental problems and further threaten human health. The current solution for the cemeteries in the development of a system in which effluent generated by the traditional burials are collected and treated before realizing in the environment. In addition to that, the green burial should be an alternative, since the corpse does not go through the embalming process, thus eliminating the presence of any undesired chemicals, that are further leached onto the environment. The crematoria should be employed as it is, however, the gas treatment station should be employed, to ensure the minimization of the impact on the environment. Last, future researches regarding the treatment of the cemeteries leached still need to be explored as well as the optimization and further development of the crematoria gas treatment process.
... Excessive ammonium, an intermediate in the nitrogen cycle, upsets the original equilibrium of the nitrogen cycle and contributes to the promotion of denitrification (Rosca et al. 2009). In addition, the process of cadaver decay alters microbial community composition and structure (Dent et al. 2004;Su et al. 2022). Some endogenous microbes in dead bodies move into the environment during decomposition , influencing the environmental community and ecosystem (Vass et al. 2008). ...
Article
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Animal carcasses introduce large amounts of nitrates and ammonium into the soil ecosystem. Some of this ammonium is transformed from nitrite through the nrfA-type microbial community. However, it is unclear how nrfA-type microorganisms respond to the decomposition of corpses. This study applied high-throughput sequencing to characterize the ecological succession of nrfA-type microbial communities in grassland soil. Our results showed that Cyclobacterium and Trueperella were the predominant genera for nrfA-type communities in soil with a decomposing corpse (experimental group), while Cyclobacterium and Archangium were dominant in soil without a corpse (control group). The alpha diversity indexes and the resistance and resilience indexes of the microbial communities initially increased and then decreased during decomposition. Compared with the control group, nrfA-encoding community structure in the experimental group gradually became divergent with succession and temporal turnover accelerated. Network analysis revealed that the microbial communities of the experimental group had more complex interactions than those of the control groups. Moreover, the bacterial community assembly in the experimental group was governed by stochastic processes, and the communities of the experimental group had a weaker dispersal capacity than those of the control group. Our results reveal the succession patterns of the nrfA-type microbial communities during degradation of wild animal corpses, which can offer references for demonstrating the ecological mechanism underlying the changes in the nrfA-type microbial community during carcass decay. Key points • Corpse decay accelerates the temporal turnover of the nrfA-type community in soil. • Corpse decay changes the ecological succession of the nrfA-type community in soil. • Corpse decay leads to a complex co-occurrence pattern of the nrfA-type community in soil.
... As a result, necropolises demand management of risks of groundwater contamination, inside and around cemeteries, and monitoring of pollutants, such as necrochorume, cadaverine and putrescine STUART, 2004;LELI et al. al., 2012;ŻYCHOWSKI et al. 2003). Furthermore, the application of pollution indicators, judging nitrate, heterotrophic bacteria and coliforms, can provide information for water quality management and health surveillance. ...
Article
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Cemeteries represent social facilities that deserve the attention of managers and planners of public sanitation policies with an emphasis on health, water use, soil and territorial planning. Since the products generated by cemetery activities, such as necrochorume, trace metals and pathogens, cause negative environmental impacts to soils, water, edaphic and aquatic biota and risks to public and collective health. This article aimed to investigate the level of influence of the Complex of cemiteries: Quinta dos Lázaros (CCQL), Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, on the chemical and microbiological contamination of groundwater by the product of cadaveric decomposition (necrochorum). Groundwater samples were collected in tubular wells and water from sources, measuring in situ the physical-chemical parameters, with the aid of a multiparameter probe (Horiba U-50), taking aliquots for chemical and microbiological laboratory analyses, carrying out a spatial analysis of geoenvironmental aspects such as modeling and land uses. The results of ammoniacal nitrogen, nitrate and microbiological indicators indicated the loss of water and socio-environmental quality, and local restrictions on use, including potability, in disagreement with Consolidation Ordinance No. 888/21, whose use of these waters represents a risk factor for exposure to pathogens and pollution. It is concluded that the results of the chemical and microbiological analyzes of the water and the spatial analysis of geoenvironmental aspects pointed to an environmental change associated with the activities of the CCQL, which demand environmental monitoring, health surveillance and the framing of the area of influence to the legislation, as provided for CONAMA Resolutions no. 357/05, no. 368/06, number: 402/08, NBR 10.157/87, NBR 15.495-1/07 and NBR 15.495-2/08.
... Microbial communities from individuals A and B showed greater intra-individual dispersion, potentially as an effect of stacking the bodies within the grave, which likely promoted skin and tissue preservation on the torsos of A and B. Decomposition materials pooled to the grave base, primarily as a result of gravity. Soil encompassing individuals was disturbed during interment, decreasing soil compaction, and thereby promoting increased drainage to the grave base, creating a water bucket and sponge-like effect (29,30). This was reflected in soil microbial communities at the grave base and further supported from a sample of mixed soil and organic material collected from within the rib cage of individual C. Microbial communities from the deep soil samples and mixed organic material in the rib cage deviated from the communities of other grave soil samples and were more similar in community composition and abundance to bone samples. ...
Article
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Understanding the microbes that colonize and degrade bone has important implications for preservation of skeletal elements and identification of unknown human remains. Current research on the postmortem bone microbiome is limited and largely focuses on archaeological or marine contexts.
... Their improved preservation may be attributed to the protective function of the zinc lining that creates a relatively stable anaerobic environment around the cadaver, preventing the access and the action of exogenous bacteria. 41 Furthermore, zinc-lined coffins are longer lasting compared with wooden coffins, and this condition limits severe humidity and temperature changes, providing a more chemically and microbiologically stable environment than the inhumed conditions. 34 It has been previously shown that bioerosion significantly impacts the survival of bone proteins; 34 however, the contribution that either endogenous and exogenous bacterial communities have on bones and which one was responsible for the observed protein degradation are still not clear. ...
Article
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Bone is a hard biological tissue and a precious reservoir of information in forensic investigations as it retains key biomolecules commonly used for identification purposes. Bone proteins have recently attracted significant interest for their potential in estimating post-mortem interval (PMI) and age at death (AAD). However, the preservation of such proteins is highly dependent on intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can hinder the potential application of molecular techniques to forensic sciences. The present study aims at investigating the effects that two commonly used types of burial practices (entombment and inhumation) have on bone protein survival. The sample consists of 14 exhumed individuals from cemeteries in Southern Italy with different AADs (29-85 years) and PMIs (1-37 years). LC-MS/MS analyses show that 16 proteins are better preserved under the entombed conditions and 4 proteins are better preserved under the inhumed conditions, whereas no clear differences are detected for post-translational protein modifications. Furthermore, several potential "stable" protein markers (i.e., proteins not affected by the burial environment) are identified for PMI and AAD estimation. Overall, these results show that the two burial environments play a role in the differential preservation of noncollagenous proteins, confirming the potential of LC-MS/MS-based proteomics in forensic sciences.
... In temperate regions, fluctuating moisture, anaerobic and acidic (pH < 7) conditions can compromise the preservation of burials, leading to the destruction of bone remains, and the dissolution of bone minerals in extreme cases (e.g., Dent et al., 2004;Janaway, 2008;High et al., 2016). Understanding the micro-context is critical as complex soil processes and properties influence the deposition, movement and transformation of organic matter, solutes, water, and air on and through the soil. ...
Article
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Recent investigations of an apparently ‘empty,’ partly disturbed Viking chamber grave in Denmark (Fregerslev II, dated around the mid-10th century CE) provided an opportunity to develop a novel multi-scale and multi-method analysis of burial and post-burial processes. To overcome the limitations of poor preservation of artefacts and bones, and the lack of a clear macrostratigraphic sequence, we integrated multi-proxy analyses of organic and inorganic materials to study the spatial architecture, burial, and post-depositional processes, including soil chemistry (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry - ICPMS, portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer - pXRF), soil micromorphology, archaeobotany (wood, seeds, fruits, phytoliths), palynology (pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs), and faecal lipid biomarkers. The results enabled the detailed characterisation, spatial analysis, and sequencing of burial deposits, and the identification of post-depositional factors responsible for the poor preservation of the burial. Soil, phytolith and pollen data indicated that the base of the grave was covered with a matting of plant material, and there was no wooden floor. Faecal biomarkers detected substantial amounts of faecal matter, most probably originating from horse faeces, suggesting that a horse died in situ, and trace amounts of pig faeces, which are more likely to have been trampled into the grave. Enriched phosphorus concentrations could be linked to the bodies in the northern and southern sector of the grave. Furthermore, enrichment in lead was found where metal objects were recovered. The findings from Fregerslev II show that integrating high-resolution approaches to the analysis of poorly preserved burial contexts can fundamentally transform archaeological interpretations.
... Previous reports on the mass mortality of P. nobilis did not explain the meaning of "recently dead" individuals. Remarkably, the detection of multiple pathogens only in individuals classified as "recently dead" may be due to the decomposition process, i.e., post-mortem proliferation of opportunistic or saprophagous organisms (particularly bacteria) in degraded specimens, which were in autolytic phase at sampling (Dent et al., 2004;Tsokos, 2005). If decomposition and tissue lysis is advanced, bacterial proliferation is obvious while the detection of other pathogens (such as H. pinnae) that occurred before the post-mortem lysis could be very difficult or impossible, causing interpretational problems (Tsokos, 2005). ...
Article
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A mass mortality event (MME) affecting the fan mussel Pinna nobilis was first detected in Spain in autumn 2016 and spread north-and eastward through the Mediterranean Sea. Various pathogens have been blamed for contributing to the MME, with emphasis in Haplosporidium pinnae, Mycobacterium sp. and Vibrio spp. In this study, samples from 762 fan mussels (necropsies from 263 individuals, mantle biopsies from 499) of various health conditions, with wide geographic and age range, taken before and during the MME spread from various environments along Mediterranean Sea, were used to assess the role of pathogens in the MME. The number of samples processed by both histological and molecular methods was 83. The most important factor playing a main role on the onset of the mass mortality of P. nobilis throughout the Mediterranean Sea
... Moreover, microbes have a key role after death, being the driving force of putrefaction. The decomposition of the body begins with cellular autolysis by hydrolytic enzymes resulting in the release of carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and fat from the body tissues; these products are then utilized by bacteria in the putrefaction process [68,69]. ...
Article
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There are several methodologies available to estimate time since death based on different changes that a corpse undergoes after death. However, these methods are imprecise due to the decomposition process being affected by several factors, principally temperature and humidity. Current trends for the determination of the Postmortem Interval (PMI) attempt to estimate the PMI in a quantifiable manner, based on chemical changes on and in the body, summarized in the field of “thanatochemistry”. Although these methodologies have improved PMI estimates, additional research has been developed to increase the accuracy and precision of this determination. As a result, the fields of “thanatobiology” and “thanatomicrobiome” have emerged. Thanatobiology is based on the estimation of the PMI from DNA/RNA degradation, signaling pathways of cell death, and protein analysis. Thanatomicrobiome refers to changes in the bacterial communities as a consequence of the decomposition process. Although both approaches seem to improve PMI estimates, applications of thanatobiology methodologies are more appropriate in the first phases of decomposition, while thanatomicrobiome analyses are applicable in advanced stages. Further research is needed in these new fields in order to establish their applicability in forensic cases. This is a review of the current state-of-the-art methodology in these two subfields.
... Numerous factors are known to contribute to the decomposition process and potentially will affect its course and the production of associated VOCs. For example, external factors such as environmental conditions, temperature, humidity or soil type influence the rate of the decomposition process [28][29][30][31]. Whereas warmer temperatures accelerate the rate of decomposition, cooler temperatures impede the rate of decomposition. ...
Chapter
In forensic science, the emission of odours from objects or biological matrices is exploited for different purposes. For example, the monitoring of odours via biological or analytical detectors is used in thanatochemistry, the chemistry of death. The analysis of decomposition odour can be explored to support the localization of a missing body, a scenario encountered in urban search and rescue operations. A better understanding of the formation and evolution of decomposition odour is also of high interest to human remains detection canine handlers to improve training practices and chose appropriate training aids. Next to thanatochemistry, many other types of evidence evaluation benefit from the characterization of the volatile profile including the analysis of fire debris, chemical threat agents, explosives, and drugs. From a chemical point of view, an odour represents a complex mixture of gaseous molecules and its characterization demands for a powerful analytical technique. Especailly, in non-targeted analysis, the separation power provided by one-dimensional (1D) gas chromatography (GC) can be surpassed. Thus, a better insight is usually achieved using a multidimensional technique, such as comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC×GC). This chapter focuses on scientific articles published between 2015 and 2020 reporting on the use of GC×GC for odour characterization in the context of forensic science. The main points are decomposition odour, volatolomic applications for profiling of human scent and illegal trade goods such as wildlife parts. Furthermore, the investigation of volatile traces of drugs and ignitable liquids in the context of arson investigations is addressed in detail. For each section, the length is proportional to the number of publications from the literature review.
... There are some reports of microorganisms associated with sugar beet that focus mainly on bacteria [19]. All studies indicate a high rate of colonization of sugar beet plant by microorganisms including seeds [20]. Sugar beet is highly susceptible to several soil-borne fungi that attack this crop causing a significant reduction in production. ...
... The cadaveric decomposition process generates a liquid called cemetery leachate (Dent et al. 2004), which is rich in mineral salts and organic substances called biogenic amines, such as cadaverine and putrescine. These biogenic amines, in addition to being highly toxic to living beings, may also be associated with diseases such as cancer (Pegg 2013;Thomas and Thomas 2001). ...
Article
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Cemetery leachate generated by the process of cadaveric decomposition is a significant contaminant of several matrices in the cemetery environment (soil, groundwater, and surface water). The biogenic amines cadaverine and putrescine stand out among the cemetery leachate contaminants, since they are potentially carcinogenic compounds. This review article presents a discussion of possible environmental impacts caused by the increase in deaths resulting from COVID-19 as its central theme. The study also aims to demonstrate the importance of considering, in this context, some climatic factors that can alter both the time of bodily decomposition and the longevity of the virus in the environment. Additionally, some evidence for the transmission of the virus to health professionals and family members after the patient’s death and environmental contamination after the burial of the bodies will also be presented. Several sources were consulted, such as scientific electronic databases (NCBI), publications by government agencies (e.g., ARPEN, Brazil) and internationally recognized health and environmental agencies (e.g., WHO, OurWorldInData.org), as well as information published on reliable websites available for free (e.g., CNN) and scientific journals related to the topic. The data from this study sounds the alarm on the fact that an increase in the number of deaths from the complications of COVID-19 has generated serious environmental problems, resulting from Cemetery leachate.
... There are also Viking Age 14 C dates from well-preserved bones in grave 3/1930 at Janakkala Kinnari (Appendix 1) and graves 7/1978, 13/1979and 17/1979at Hollola Kirkkailanmäki (Översti et al. 2019 indicating that soil acidity is not likely the only explaining factor in the preservation. Bone preservation is affected by, for example, soil micromorphology and chemistry, micro-organisms (e.g., Gordon & Buikstra 1981;Kibblewhite et al. 2015), the depth of the grave and the presence of a container or organic material in it (Dent et al. 2004;Nord et al. 2005;Stojanowski et al. 2002). The decomposition process may slow down when the corpse has been buried in colder and drier seasons (Mann et al. 1990;Roberts & Dabbs 2015), and bodies may also decompose more rapidly if sepsis or fever was present before death (Hayman & Oxenham 2016: 92). ...
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This dissertation focuses on Early Medieval and Medieval (c. AD 900–1400) inhumation burial customs in Upper Satakunta and Häme regions in Finland. The aim is to clarify the find contexts of Early Medieval inhumation burials in Finland, and to explore the research potential of studying the variations in burial customs. The methodology is based on archaeothanatological analysis which aims at distinguishing the human and natural taphonomic processes in burials. Although some of the burials have been considered atypical in previous research, the studies on the contexts of all the graves in the area reveal that there has been significant variation in Early Medieval inhumation burial customs. This variation is likely explained by individual choices at different stages of the burial ritual. These choices may have been influenced by different social motives, beliefs, and local events. Therefore, the variations in burial practices emphasize the impact of individual agency. In addition to general variation, a possible slight increase in double and multiple burials around AD 1200 was observed. This is also a period when “antique” spearheads were occasionally struck into the coffin structures – a habit previously considered dramatic and unusual. Based on environmental studies and recent molecular studies in the Baltic countries and Scandinavia, it is possible that crop failure and epidemic outbreaks caused a mortality crisis at the time, leading to an increase in double and multiple burials. However, the political instability of the period could also have also provoked local power struggles, which could have emphasized the ritual meaning of ancestors. This could explain the various usage of “antique” objects and older cremated bones in the inhumation burials. When the graves are studied in detail, it will become possible to raise new questions on gender roles and identities, local rituals, commemoration, and the meanings of objects and sites. In general, the contextualization of graves widens the possibilities to study and interpret Finnish archaeological material and help integrate this material in wider geographical, temporal, and theoretical discussion.
... The faunal succession is also different between bodies exposed on the ground surface and buried bodies in the grave and huge larvae mass is rarely reported in latter condition (14,15,20,21). Besides that, the rate of decomposition in grave could also be affected by other factors, such as the presence of covering, coffin, physical and chemical properties of soil (22)(23)(24)(25). ...
Article
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Background: Examination of post-mortem changes is one of the ways to assess decomposition process on buried bodies. Nonetheless, studies on such assessment are still lacking, especially on the effects of body coverings by different materials in burial conditions. The aim of this research is to study the effect of different types of covering towards decomposition on buried rabbit carcasses by using Total Body Score (TBS) system. Methods: Twenty-seven rabbit carcasses were divided into: (i) No Clothing; (ii) Thick Clothing and (iii) Plastic Wrapping groups, and buried into individual shallow graves. One subject was exhumed from first to ninth post-burial week and assessed by using TBS system. Results and discussion: There are significant differences among TBS between different coverings while controlling the time factor, F (2, 23) = 4.80, P < 0.05, partial η 2 = 0.294. TBS score for Plastic Wrapping group is significantly lower than No Clothing group over times at α = 0.05, P < 0.05. The slightly delaying effect of thick clothing is caused by design of jacket, which allows arthropods access and microbial activity. Relatively strong delaying effect by plastic covering could be caused by impermeable property that caused accumulation of decompositional products and slow down the degradation. Conclusion: In conclusion, TBS system is a potential tool in describing rate of decomposition for buried cases in Malaysia.
... Death is a natural process for a living organism, and many changes occur postmortems such as shutting down of the immune system, changes in the temperature and alteration in the growth of commensal microbes Alan and Sarah 2012). Following death, decomposition begins, in which cells undergo autolysis and release many chemicals by employing various enzymes such as lysozymes (Dent, Forbes and Stuart 2004;Garg, Arora and Dubey 2005). Decomposition is the process by which the body's soft tissues degrade, resulting in skeletonization (Haglund and Sorg 2001). ...
Article
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Animals are an essential part of the ecosystem, and their carcasses are the nutrient patches or hotspots where nutrients accumulate for a long time. After death, the physical and chemical properties undergo alterations inside the carcass. The animal carcass is decomposed by many decomposers such as bacteria, fungi, microeukaryotes, and insects. The role of microbial symbionts in living organisms is well explored and studied, but there is a scarcity of knowledge and research related to their role in decomposing animal carcasses. Microbes play an important role in carcass decomposition. The origins of microbial communities associated with a carcass, including the internal and external microbiome, are discussed in this review. The succession and methods used for the detection and exploration of decomposition-associated microbial communities have been briefly described. Also, the applications of carcass-associated microbial taxa have been outlined. This review is intended to understand the dynamics of microbial communities associated with the carcass and pave the way to estimate postmortem interval and its role in recycling nutrients.
... Since bodies have different decomposition processes depending on the environment in which they are deposited 31,32 , different rates of RNA degradation can be expected. Previous works demonstrated that temperature is a factor that acts directly on RNA degradation 16,33 . ...
Article
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Most biological features that occur on the body after death were already deciphered by traditional medicine. However, the molecular mechanisms triggered in the cellular microenvironment are not fully comprehended yet. Previous studies reported gene expression alterations in the post-mortem condition, but little is known about how the environment could influence RNA degradation and transcriptional regulation. In this work, we analysed the transcriptome of mouse brain after death under three concealment simulations (air exposed, buried, and submerged). Our analyses identified 2,103 genes differentially expressed in all tested groups 48 h after death. Moreover, we identified 111 commonly upregulated and 497 commonly downregulated genes in mice from the concealment simulations. The gene functions shared by the individuals from the tested environments were associated with RNA homeostasis, inflammation, developmental processes, cell communication, cell proliferation, and lipid metabolism. Regarding the altered biological processes, we identified that the macroautophagy process was enriched in the upregulated genes and lipid metabolism was enriched in the downregulated genes. On the other hand, we also described a list of biomarkers associated with the submerged and buried groups, indicating that these environments can influence the post-mortem RNA abundance in its particular way.
... lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins) are degraded into their constituent parts (e.g. methane, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen) [16,17]. It is these classes of compounds that cadaver detection dogs are thought to be detecting. ...
Article
The occurrence of mass disasters has increased worldwide due to changing environments from global warming and a heightened threat of terrorism acts. When these disasters strike, it is imperative to rapidly locate and recover human victims, both the living and deceased. While search and rescue dogs are used to locate the living, cadaver detection dogs are typically tasked with locating the dead. This can prove challenging because commingling of victims is likely to occur during disasters in populated areas which will impact the decomposition process and the resulting odour produced. To date, there has been no research to investigate the process of human decomposition in a mass disaster scenario or to understand which compounds are detectable by cadaver detection dogs. Hence, the current study investigated the human decomposition process and subsequent volatile organic compound (VOC) production in two simulated building collapse scenarios with six human donors placed in each scenario. The human remains were only recovered after a period of one month, during which time VOC samples were collected and analysed using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry. A considerable degree of differential decomposition was observed upon recovery of the human remains, which was carried out as a part of a police disaster victim recovery training exercise. The location of the bodies in the disaster area was found to impact the decomposition process. The VOC profile was found to correlate with the decomposition process. Fifteen days following the simulated disaster, the VOC profile changed showing that a detectable change in the decomposition process had occurred. Overall, the changing VOC profile can inform the training of cadaver detection dogs for these unique scenarios.
... This cluster accounts for both the fresh and bloat stage visually represented by Donor 2. The sampling days from day 10-14 (apart from 14L) were found to be separated due to the presence of pentadecanoic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, tricosanoic acid, palmitic acid, decanoic acid, and heneicosanoic acid. Oleic acid, linoleic acid and palmitic acid are the most widespread fatty acids in adipose tissue [38] and demonstrate that the samples are still in an early stage of decomposition. As decomposition transitioned, stearic acid along with nonadecanoic acid, tetracosanoic acid, docosanoic acid, hexacosanoic acid, arachidic acid, and the dicarboxylic acids were separating the day 17, L day 14 and U day 24 samples. ...
Article
Traditionally, the post-mortem interval (PMI) is determined using methods such as forensic entomology or forensic pathology, however these techniques are often limited to a particular post-mortem window of up to 72 – 120 hours after death. In this study, lipids extracted from decomposing human tissue were investigated as potential soft-tissue biomarkers of PMI. Tissue samples were collected from two whole human donors (n=2), one frozen and one fresh, placed at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) over the course of 69 days post-placement. These samples were analysed using gas chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS), demonstrating statistically significant differences for most fatty acid analytes and further highlighting the well-known stability of sterol compounds over time. Differences were observed between the fresh and frozen donor, with the fresh donor displaying more distinct stages of decomposition. Chemical differences between the donors were more distinct in the fatty acids than the sterols. The fatty acid profiles over time were further investigated and target analytes comprising saturated fatty acids (stearic acid and palmitic acid) and unsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid and linoleic acid) were found to be of particular importance due to their potential as indicators of PMI.
... The microbial populations involved in decomposition vary in composition and quantity over time and are present until nutrients are depleted [19,48,49]. The role of fungi in corpse decomposition and the full spectrum of species involved in this process are not yet well known [3,5,7,27,33,50]. ...
Article
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Fungi are increasingly being used in criminal investigations as a source of data for crime scene and can be proposed as a forensic tool. There are very few forensic investigators trained in this discipline, which justifies the small amount of published data and most justice professionals are not aware of the contribution of fungi to these investigations. A wide variety of techniques derived from biology are used by forensic investigators to study the changes in the corpse and in the ground where the corpse decomposition occurs in order to solve a crime or find clandestine burials. We review the data available on the use of mycological evidence in criminal cases and as proofs before the justice. The first uses of fungi as evidence were restricted to cases associated with poisonous or psychotropic species. Currently, the objective of forensic mycology is to date the post-mortem and post-burial intervals using information from the fungal community found on the corpse surface or in the environment associated with a clandestine burial. The use of fungi as a forensic tool in different parts of the world has aroused the interest of forensic investigators, such as the members of the different Law Enforcements who deal with solving criminal cases.
... In contrast, the consumption rates for the fresh meat portions of wild boars were relatively low (Table 1). This could explain the possibility that the presence of full-body carcasses, especially including intestines-which include various specific microbes contributing the decay process of carcasses and emitting putrefactive odor (Dent et al. 2004)-are crucially important in enhancing the detectability of snow-buried carcasses by scavengers. Even in the presence of microbes in the intestine, the decay process is not very distinct under freezing conditions. ...
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Interest in trophic interactions and ecosystem functions derived from carcass consumption by scavengers has been increasing. Here, we conducted the first evaluation of scavenging processes in an ecosystem with heavy snow, located in northern Japan, which is characterized by the limitations of visual and odor cues to detect carcasses. In this study, we verified the behavioral traits and assemblage compositions of avian and mammalian scavengers, which consumed six different carcass types buried in snow. We measured the visits of scavengers using camera traps between 2010 and 2020. The total scavenger richness observed was relatively low (only 12 species) compared to warmer biomes. We observed seven avian scavenger species, but their visit frequencies were extremely low compared with those of nocturnal mammalian scavengers, such as raccoon dogs ( Nyctereutes procyonoides ) and martens ( Martes melampus ), which were able to detect carcasses more rapidly and frequently. Our findings imply that large snow piles significantly prevent avian scavengers from detecting carcasses. In contrast, the snow piles could protect carcasses from the freezing air and ensure the occurrence of a basal level of microbial decomposition, possibly leading to carcass decomposition. This probably results in carcasses still providing odor cues for mammalian scavengers with heightened sense of smell. Moreover, considering the high carcass consumption rate (91.3% of full-body carcass; n = 23) and short carcass detection times (approximately 90 h) observed, it is possible that scavenging in heavy snowfall conditions has become systematically integrated into the foraging tactics of many mammalian scavengers.
... Bada, Schoeninger, and Schimmelmann (1989), for example, observed a ∼7‰ 15 N-enrichment on bovine collagen after 30% hydrolysis. This enrichment has been observed in deamidation associated with the transfer of amino acids from diet to consumer (Chikaraishi et al. 2007;Chikaraishi et al. 2009;Miura and Goto 2012;Hare et al. 1991;Popp et al. 2007) and in the archaeological degradation of proteins (Dent, Forbes, and Stuart 2004;von Holstein 2014). Sheepskins processed using Method 2 were only in lime for 24 h, but the parchment to skin offset is not significantly different from sheepskins processed using Method 1 which had been in lime for at least 6 days (Table 4). ...
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Parchment is one of the most abundant resources in archives across the world and is a unique time-sensitive material through which centuries of livestock economies, trade and craft can be explored. We examine the impact of structural and chemical modifications during production to δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N values in the skin, particularly the removal of cutaneous keratins and lipids and the conversion of amide functional groups into carboxyl groups via alkaline hydrolysis. Through the manufacture of 51 parchment skins (sheep, goat, calf and pig) using both historic and modern manufacturing techniques, we found production resulted in a small enrichment in ¹³C (average +0.12‰) and ¹⁵N (+0.26‰). Our results pave the way for the isotopic analysis of parchment in paleodietary and paleoenvironmental studies for the historic period and establish the acceptable C:N ratios in deamidated collagenous tissues.
Article
Vertebrate decomposition results in an ephemeral disturbance of the surrounding environment. Microbial decomposers are recognized as key players in the breakdown of complex organic compounds, controlling carbon and nutrient fate in the ecosystem and potentially serving as indicators of time since death for forensic applications. As a result, there has been increasing attention on documenting the microbial communities associated with vertebrate decomposition, or the 'necrobiome'. These necrobiome studies differ in the vertebrate species, microhabitats (e.g. skin vs. soil), and geographic locations studied, but many are narrowly focused on the forensic application of microbial data, missing the larger opportunity to understand the ecology of these communities. To further our understanding of microbial dynamics during vertebrate decomposition and identify knowledge gaps, there is a need to assess the current works from an ecological systems perspective. In this review, we examine recent work pertaining to microbial community dynamics and succession during vertebrate (human and other mammals) decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems, through the lens of a microbial succession ecological framework. From this perspective, we describe three major microbial microhabitats (internal, external, and soil) in terms of their unique successional trajectories and identify three major knowledge gaps that remain to be addressed.
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The combined use of multiple omics methods to answer complex system biology questions is growing in biological and medical sciences, as the importance of studying interrelated biological processes in their entirety is increasingly recognized. We applied a combination of metabolomics, lipidomics and proteomics to human bone to investigate the potential of this multi-omics approach to estimate the time elapsed since death (i.e., the post-mortem interval, PMI). This "ForensOMICS" approach has the potential to improve accuracy and precision of PMI estimation of skeletonized human remains, thereby helping forensic investigators to establish the timeline of events surrounding death. Anterior midshaft tibial bone was collected from four female body donors in a fresh stage of decomposition before placement of the bodies to decompose outdoors at the human taphonomy facility managed by the Forensic Anthropological Center at Texas State (FACTS). Bone samples were again collected at selected PMIs (219, 790, 834 and 872 days). Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was used to obtain untargeted metabolomic, lipidomic and proteomic profiles from the pre- and post-placement bone samples. Multivariate analysis was used to investigate the three omics blocks by means of Data Integration Analysis for Biomarker discovery using Latent variable approaches for Omics studies (DIABLO), to identify the reduced number of markers that could effectively describe post-mortem changes and classify the individuals based on their PMI. The resulting model showed that pre-placement bone metabolome, lipidome and proteome profiles were clearly distinguishable from post-placement profiles. Metabolites associated with the pre-placement samples, suggested an extinction of the energetic metabolism and a switch towards another source of fuelling (e.g., structural proteins). We were able to identify certain biomolecules from the three groups that show excellent potential for estimation of the PMI, predominantly the biomolecules from the metabolomics block. Our findings suggest that, by targeting a combination of compounds with different post-mortem stability, in future studies we could be able to estimate both short PMIs, by using metabolites and lipids, and longer PMIs, by including more stable proteins.
Article
This research examined the effects that the variables of burial depth and presence of plastic wrapping had on the decomposition rate of fetal pig (Sus scrofa) remains in a New England environment. The decomposition of 56 fetal pigs was observed in four independent variable groups: 20 cm depth unwrapped, 20 cm wrapped, 60 cm unwrapped, and 60 cm wrapped, with exhumation at months 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 18. The authors hypothesized that the rate of decay would be slower for wrapped remains and/or for remains at a greater burial depth. Analysis of these remains consisted of preburial and postburial mass, adipocere coverage, skeletal exposure, and decomposition quantified as Total Body Score (TBS). The difference between preburial and postburial mass was reported as a loss percentage to account for varying preburial masses. Wrapping was a significant influencer of mass loss percentage, with p = 0.0298 but not for the TBS, with p = 0.17565. Burial depth did not have a significant effect on either mass loss percentage or TBS, with p = 0.1956 and 0.08969, respectively. This study suggests that wrapping has a greater influence on decomposition patterns than burial depth in this environment, particularly the mass loss percentage. It is suggested that there are limitations with the use of TBS in Postmortem Interval (PMI) estimation, such as variable burial conditions and body characteristics.
Thesis
This thesis presents the results of a multi-disciplinary investigation of a variant Ancestral Pueblo mortuary rite at Wallace Ruin, southwest Colorado (USA). This multi-storey building is one of four Lakeview Group great houses connected to the Pueblo II regional system centred at Pueblo Bonito of Chaco Canyon some 100 km to the south. From c. AD 1060-1150, Wallace Ruin functioned as a ritual- economic centre with a small residential component. Then, habitation of this great house, the Lakeview Group and all domiciles within 10 kilometres ceased. However, three or more decades later at least six rooms were used as a non- residential, Pueblo III mortuary facility for a minimum of 32 individuals. This use was in marked contrast to the enduring Ancestral Pueblo practice of residential burial, usually in the extramural midden. The interrogation of several hypotheses concerning this anomaly entails a bioarchaeological approach that integrates skeletal evidence with spatial analyses regarding diachronic mortuary location choices at Wallace Ruin. Taphonomic methods that segregate bone displacements during corpse decomposition in a filled versus a void space provide accurate determinations of the depositional versus discovered mortuary microenvironments. The diachronic analysis of data from over 100 San Juan Region sites reveals additional ways in which Wallace’s Pueblo III mortuary program departs from longstanding communities of practice, whether great house or domicile. Chief among these are the use of a surface room floor and the postural arrangement of supine bodies with flexed knees upright. These results, in combination with material culture evidence, form the basis of this thesis: The Pueblo III mortuary program at Wallace Ruin is a variant rite that entails a Mesa Verde Region reformulation of a Pueblo Bonito house society. The sanctioned retrieval of objects of memory offers a plausible explanation for intentional intrusions into two mortuary contexts. Beyond addressing questions concerning Wallace Ruin, a major contribution of this study includes advancement of the house society model as an interpretive scheme for evaluating Mesa Verde Region socio-ritual dynamics. This research also demonstrates the effectiveness of anthropologie de terrain (Duday, 2006) to retrospectively determine the original status of Ancestral Pueblo mortuary microenvironments. The refinement developed for this study, in which Range of Motion criteria are used to detect large-scale movements of lower limbs during corpse decomposition, is suitable for bioarchaeological analyses the world over.
Article
Examining the purity of meat is a classical problem in developing countries, especially in Indonesia. The high economic value of beef causes counterfeiting to occur frequently. The forgery process is done through the simple practice of mixing in a certain percentage of pork. Several recent studies have shown that e-noses can examine beef purity through gas detection. This study aimed to determine the effect of gas concentration on the results of detection and classification of beef and pork mixtures by characterizing different meat samples in 3 chambers with a different size. The meat mixture dataset was retrieved by an e-nose device with an array of MQ series sensors that are sensitive to chemical scents. Classification of the meat mixtures was done in several stages: data acquisition from the 3 different sample chambers, statistical feature extraction, classification, ensemble learning, and performance evaluation based on a confusion matrix. The experimental results from this study indicate that the sample chamber with the highest gas concentration yielded the highest accuracy. The best accuracy result, i.e. 95.71%, was obtained with a 50-ml sample chamber using an ensemble method with the statistical parameters of kurtosis and skewness.
Conference Paper
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This book contains information obtained from authentic and highly regarded sources. This is an edition made for publication of the works resulting from the ICHWBI2019 which are available individually on ©WORK journal website, where the reader will find a significant heterogeneity. Abstracts are ongoing or completed project-based research papers submitted by researchers from various academic degrees. This diversity is also found in the authors' scientific areas, reflecting on the variety of research themes presented at the Congress itself. Reasonable effort has been made to publish reliable data and information, but the author and publisher cannot assume responsibility for the validity of all materials or the consequences of their use.
Article
Infrared thermography (IRT) is used as a non-destructive testing method to detect subsurface features such as defects and anomalies based on temperature differences. Recent, studies showed that IRT is increasingly being used to map moisture distribution and detect areas of moisture related deterioration in structures. This thesis studied the viability of in situ infrared thermography (IRT) to identify the presence of moisture in historic lime-plastered adobe walls. The Campo Santo at Tumacácori National Historical Park in Arizona served as an experimental model for this thesis to identify the accuracy of IRT as a rapid assessment method for moisture identification. The infrared findings were correlated with the results of indirect monitoring methods and laboratory experiments to identify the various factors affecting the thermal images. Further a comparative analysis of the thermal images was done with the contour plots of moisture and surface temperature readings taken from other indirect monitoring method such as using capacitance moisture meters. It was found that the thermal images of the Campo Santo walls at Tumacácori were greatly affected by environmental conditions and surface anomalies such as non-uniformity of surface material and their properties. Through this thesis it was proved that the additional indirect testing methods and laboratory tests were necessary to accurately interpret the IRT images. Finally, this thesis proposes the future use of IRT to detect moisture patterns in historic lime-plastered adobe walls by accommodating all the factors that might affect the thermal readings.
Chapter
Detritus is the term for any source of non-living organic matter and is the basal trophic stage of most food webs, believed to be produced from phototropic sources. While plants make up a good portion of the detrital pool, carrion, also considered detritus, is the decaying flesh of dead animals and has a significant impact on the ecosystem. Carcass decomposition changes the surrounding environment both in the short term and in the long term. Understanding this process is therefore important to understanding the way an environment works as a whole. Decomposition in any given ecosystem includes actions of vertebrate scavengers, invertebrates, plants, and microorganisms. From a physical standpoint, after an animal dies, its molecular structure begins to disaggregate. Scavengers feeding upon carrion help to recycle carcass nutrients and resources throughout the ecosystem. In addition to impacting landscape heterogeneity through decomposition pattern destruction, decomposers such as scavengers also impact the structure of other trophic levels through their encounters with predators, parasites, and other organisms. Spatial and temporal dynamics of detritus subsidies, along with competitive hierarchy of species using these resources, are important drivers of terrestrial system decomposition processes and are ultimately related to necrophages through evolutionary processes. Carrion is an inevitable and ecologically important component of the ecosystem. Understanding its position in the overarching ecological system is crucial to the overall understanding of ecology. Although the importance of carrion decomposition in the atmosphere has long been recognized, the processes behind it have yet to be elucidated.
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Forensic taphonomy is a branch of forensic science which in its application uses processes related to the decomposition of corpses and uses soil evidence to estimate post-mortem interval (PMI) or post burial. Soil has evidential value because it contains minerals, plants and animal materials that are useful for characterization. This research was conducted by analyzing soil characteristics, namely soil pH and soil moisture and total nitrogen content in soil samples taken from under rabbit carcasses that were placed on the soil surface, buried 25 cm and 50 cm at each decomposition stage. The results obtained showed significant differences at each stage of decomposition and laying of the carcasses.
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The disposal of whale carcasses in beach burials has raised perceptions of shark attraction to the adjacent water. Understanding the concerns and perceptions of the community is key to creating sound management practices and educational resources. We surveyed community perception of the disposal of whale carcasses and the factors influencing public opinion. Overall, the community underestimated carcass disposal costs, and considered nonviable methods (oceanic tow and carcass recycling) as their preferred options. Responses were divided into two groups: (1) those previously aware of this management issue, and (2) those unaware. The ‘aware’ group had polarised opinions with strong opinions about the safety of beach burial and its influence on shark attraction. The source of information for respondents drove perceptions with personal opinion being the highest, followed by media, perceived natural processes, and research in the aware group. Expert opinion, and common management practice were the lowest ranked information sources suggesting a lack of access to reliable information, or a disconnect between experts and the external community. Surprisingly, 27.8% of respondents would not change their opinion based on research, emphasising the complexity of the issue and of the relationship between managers and the public. This information will assist managers in the creation of comprehensive management practices, educational resources, communication of facts, and reduction of misconceptions around the disposal of whale carcasses.
Article
Vertebrate decomposition leads to an efflux of fluids rich with biochemicals and microbes from the carcass into the surrounding soil affecting the endogenous soil bacterial community. These perturbations are detectable in soils associated with carcasses (gravesoil) and influence soil bacterial ecology for years after the decomposition event, but it is unknown for how long. Measuring these impacts over extended timescales is critical to expanding vertebrate decomposition's role in the ecosystem and may provide useful information to forensic science. Using 16S rRNA gene amplicon data, this study surveyed bacterial composition in terrestrial soils associated with surface-exposed swine decomposition for 10 years after carcass placement. This pilot study utilizes the increased statistical power associated with repeated measure/within-subjects sampling to analyze bacterial diversity trends over time. Our results demonstrate that the soil bacterial diversity was significantly impacted by decomposition, with this impact being localized to the area underneath the carcass. Bacterial community dissimilarity was greatest 12 months postmortem before beginning recovery. Additionally, random forest regressions were utilized to determine 10 important genera for distinguishing decomposition timepoints, an important component of forensic investigations. Of these 10 genera, four were further analyzed for their significant relative abundance shifts underneath the carcass. This pilot study helps expand the current knowledge of long-term effects of carcass decomposition on soil bacterial communities, and is the first to our knowledge to characterize these communities temporally from placement through a decade of decomposition.
Article
The estimation of the postmortem interval (PMI) is an essential part of forensic practice investigations. In this experiment, attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and chemometrics were combined to explore the estimation of PMI in adipose tissue and the effect of temperature. Through principal component analysis (PCA) and two-factor ANOVA, we found that the change in adipose tissue degradation was mainly reflected in the peak intensity in the 1743 cm⁻¹ (the bond between fatty acids and glycerol) decrease with the prolongation of PMI and the peak intensity in the 1711 cm⁻¹ (free fatty acids) increase with the prolongation of PMI. Furthermore, temperature has a significant effect on the postmortem changes in adipose tissue; it will not change the mechanism of adipose tissue degradation but will affect the rate of adipose tissue degradation. Our next step was to establish partial least squares (PLS) regression models at different temperatures to estimate PMI. We found that the temperature affects the robustness and reliability of the model by affecting the rate of adipose tissue decomposition. In the high-temperature group, the adipose tissue changes more with time, which is beneficial to the detection of FTIR and the establishment of the model (25℃: Rp²=0.82, RMSEP=1.78 d; 35℃: Rp²=0.82, RMSEP=0.59 d), while low temperature is the opposite (5℃: Rp²=0.12, RMSEP=3.73 d; 15℃: Rp²=0.60, RMSEP=2.57 d). This study shows that the combination of ATR-FTIR and chemometrics is feasible to explore the estimation of PMI in adipose tissue and the effect of temperature.
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Discussion of lines of black stains encountered in Tongan burials.It can be demonstrated that these were caused by the decay of the mats into which the bodies had been wrapped.
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Groundwater samples collected by piezometers from three cemiteries in geologically distinct areas of S. Paulo and Santos, Brazil, were analysed in order to determine their hygienic and sanitary conditions. Fecal coliformes, fecal streptococci, sulfite reducer clostridia and Salmonella were searched for the purpose of evaluating sanitary conditions, and total coliforms, heterotrophic bacteria, proteolitic and lipoli-tic microorganisms for evaluating hygienic conditions. In some samples, nitrate levels were also determined. It was discovered that these waters do not present adequate sanitary and higienic conditions and that, in some cases, nitrate levels were extremelly high (75.7 mg/l). In most samples, higher levels of fecal streptococci and sufite reducer clostridia than fecal coliforms were detected, which seems to show that the two former indicators would be more appropriate for evaluating the sanitary conditions of this kind of water. Salmonella were detected in only one of 44 samples analysed and coliphages in none. In the stastistical analysis, the correlation matrix showed significant correlations among three fecal pollution indicators, as well as among anaerobic and aerobic heterotrophs and lipolitic bacteria. A direct relationship between the deterioration of water quality and the geological and hydrogeological conditions of the environment studied was observed. When cemiteries are constructed these conditions should, therefore, be taken into consideration.
Chapter
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Land treatment of wastewater is increasing considerably worldwide to achieve both environmental and treatment reuse benefits. This chapter includes brief description about land treatment systems: specifically, slow-rate (SR) systems, overland (OF) systems, and soil aquifer treatment (SAT) systems. Moreover, discussed about wastewater constituents and removal mechanism and pretreatment and storage design, requirements, monitoring, management as well as in-depth calculation process are discussed. http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/9789814327701_0018
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Although ethanol can on rare occasions be detected in blood from living subjects who have not ingested alcohol, these levels never exceed 5 mg/100 ml. On the other hand, levels up to 150 mg/100 g have been detected in blood and tissues of putrefied human or rodent corpses. Ingestion of ethanol ante-mortem in these cases is known not to have taken place (in the case of the rodents), or is most unlikely to have taken place (in the case of humans). Production of ethanol has occurred, not only in tissues that have obviously putrefied, but within a relatively short time (Bonnichsen et al. 1953) if temperatures are elevated (i.e. above about 15 "C). Experience with decomposition of meat shows that high numbers of bacteria can be present without showing obvious signs of putrefaction. The limited evidence available suggests that ethanol is not formed post-mortem except by microbial action, and that ethanol is both produced and utilized, so that bodies with high initial levels will show a decrease, and bodies with low initial levels will show an increase. The method by which bacteria invade dead bodies is not entirely clear. However, the source appears to be mainly intestinal, although injury resulting in skin breakage immediately before death may introduce exogenous micro-organisms into the blood stream and throughout the body. There is evidence that bacteria may penetrate the intestinal walls during death and be distributed throughout the tissues in the blood stream, this may also occur during food absorption and from skin abrasions, etc. throughout life. Even after clinical death has occurred these organisms may be prevented from multiplying or actually killed, by the residual antimicrobial defences of the body, and the anaerobic organisms will be inhibited initially by the high Eh, but within a few hours, provided the temperature exceeds about 5 OC, they will start to multiply. This primary invasion is probably reinforced by a secondary invasion of intestinal organisms, starting via the hepatic portal vein and the intestinal lymph system, and spreading round the body via the vascular system. Although the intestine harbours a wide variety of organisms, the majority obligate and fastidious anaerobes, only relatively few groups have been implicated as major colonizers of corpses during putrefaction; these include, in order of importance, C1. perfringens (a vigorous saccharolytic, lipolytic and proteolytic organism) and other Clostridiurn spp., enterobacteria (frequently, E. coli and Proteus spp.), Micrococcaeae (frequently Staph. aureus), streptococci and Bacillus spp. All of these are capable of producing ethanol from glucose and other substrates. In addition, a wider variety of organisms may be detected in the early stages of putrefaction, and these include yeasts, which may produce very high ethanol levels if present in sufficiently high numbers. Information on levels of substrates present shortly after death is sparse and further studies on this subject would be of interest. Glucose may be present in high levels in the liver and nearby blood and tissues, levels in the blood generally may be raised. Other possibly important sources are amino-acids (especially once proteolysis has commen- ced), glycerol (formed during fat hydrolysis), and lactate which occurs widely and at levels over 100 mg/100 g in all tissues. There is evidence that all these compounds can serve as substrates for ethanol production by bacteria commonly found in corpses. Forensic scientists must, therefore, always bear in mind that specimens of human tissue containing micro-organisms, particularly specimens taken from corpses, may contain ethanol produced by microbial fermentation, and that extreme caution should be exercised when assessing the significance of post-mortem ethanol
Chapter
This chapter describes land treatment of wastewater and discusses the selection and design of system for land treatment. Minimum impact on the environment and minimum total cost of operation are the two main design criteria for land treatment of liquid waste. The choice of system is largely controlled by soil and hydrogeologic conditions and by the availability of land. The chapter divides land treatment systems into three types: overland flow systems, low-rate application systems, and high-rate application systems. Overland flow systems are used where the soil is too impermeable or the suspended solids content of the wastewater is too high to allow significant infiltration rates, causing most of the wastewater to run off. With low-rate application systems, all wastewater apply infiltrates into the soil, but the dosages are rather small and of the same order as the water requirements of the crop or vegetation. With high-rate application systems, all wastewater again infiltrates into the soil, but the dosage is much greater than that necessary for crop growth.
Article
The decomposition of a human cadaver was stopped after solidification of putrefactive liquid during a GIS Burial experiment. Knowledge of this phenomenon is necessary to optimize burial conditions and to decrease cemetery congestion. In this preliminary study, we devised a method using thin-layer chromatography and gas chromatography to compare different putrefactive liquids. A comparison of lipid composition among two cadavers revealed a decrease in the decomposition rate of the cadaver that had the gelled putrefactive liquid. Essentially, fatty acids were observed in two types of extracts. The difference was quantitative: there was a higher amount of fatty acids in the gelled sample than in the standard liquid, suggesting a decrease of decomposition rate in the gelled extract. A large quantity of oleate salts may be favourable for solidification. In addition, an isomer of oleic acid (elaidic acid) could be present which may have a determining factor in the phenomenon of gelled putrefaction. A large amount of stearic acid was present in the gelled extract and may be involved in solidification. This method was efficient for comparing the lipid composition of different putrefactive liquids and may be used for a large-scale study. This is the first report concerning methods to determine the lipid composition of human decomposition liquids after 4 years postmortem.
Article
The unsaturated zone of the Chalk has been examined for carbohydrates which could provide a potential food and energy supply for bacterial activity and influence the concentrations of infiltrating contaminants such as nitrate. Relationships between carbohydrate, both in the solid phase and in pore-water, and nitrate, nitrite and ammonia in pore-waters have been investigated for sites of different land-use. Component monosaccharides have been determined.
Article
In textbook format, the book is process orientated and divided into 16 chapters. An introduction providing preliminary information on the hydrologic cycle is followed by chapters on the following: origin of porosity and permeability; groundwater movement; elastic properties and equations of flow; hydraulic testing; groundwater resource; the role of groundwater in the basin hydrologic cycle; groundwater in the Earth's crust; heat, solute and particulate transport; aqueous geochemistry; mass transport; and contaminant hydrogeology, contaminant transport modelling and pollution remedy. A bibliography and subject index are provided. -S.J.Stone
Article
Burial grounds are generally provided by local authorities in cemeteries (subject to planning consent and to compliance with any considerations for environmental health). Their design has been submitted to studies of hydrogeological characteristics of soil with regard to its ability to purify wastewater coming from corpse decomposition, its ability to avoid the infiltration of pollutants in groundwater, and its ability to skeletonize buried corpses within the given times foreseen by the law in force. Greater environmental awareness has necessitated that new and existing burial grounds are assessed to determine the environmental load which they could release to soil or any downstream component. This problem arises in countries where there is a high density of built-up areas, a custom of disposing of the dead by burial, a lack of available spaces and suitable soils to designate as burial grounds. This paper reports some results from a study carried out on ground lands of Italy in order to revise articles 82 and 83 of the Decree No 285 of 1990 in force in relation to burial grounds. Soil permeability to water and air is a parameter of critical importance in relation to purification and/or diffusion of leachates from inhumed corpses in the soil, and in relation to its influence on the time necessary to completely skeletonize a human corpse.
Article
The distribution of pathogenic anaerobes in the environment and the relationship with diseases in animals are discussed. A distinction between the spore-bearing anaerobes (clostridia) and the Gram-negative non-spore-forming anaerobes is necessary. The main habitat of clostridia is the soil but they are also found in dust, sewage, rivers, lakes, sea water, milk, vegetables, fresh meat, fish, insects and the intestinal tract. The Gram-negative non-spore-forming anaerobic bacteria are also widely distributed among animals, principally on mucous membranes of the alimentary tract. After a general introduction and a section on the isolation of anaerobes, the various diseases caused by clostridia (botulism, tetanus, blackleg, malignant oedema, infectious necrotic hepatitis, enterotoxaemia and gas gangrene) and Gram-negative anaerobes (infections due to Fusobacterium and Bacteroides spp., such as diphtheria, footrot, etc.) are discussed. In particular, information concerning the reservoir of the causative agent and the mode of transmission is presented.
Article
Much of the difficulty in determining the time since death stems from the lack of systematic observation and research on the decomposition rate of the human body. Continuing studies conducted at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, provide useful information on the impact of carrion insect activity, ambient temperature, rainfall, clothing, burial and depth, carnivores, bodily trauma, body weight, and the surface with which the body is in contact. This paper reports findings and observations accumulated during eight years of research and case studies that may clarify some of the questions concerning bodily decay.
Article
Sorption between microbial cells and clay minerals was determined by measuring changes in particle size distribution with an electronic particle counter. Sorption increased as the valency of the cations present on the clay and in the suspending electrolyte increased. Neither the size, motility, or Gram reaction of bacteria nor the size of the clay appeared to influence sorption. Sorption occurred between bacteria and montmorillonite homoionic to monovalent cations only at pH 2 to 4, but did not occur at any pH with yeast cells, which sorbed only in the presence of trivalent cations. Heat-killed cells of yeast lost their ability to sorb, whereas cells killed with benzalkonium chloride did not. The possible implications of these results in sorption of microorganisms in natural habitats are discussed.
Article
The decomposition of a human cadaver was stopped after solidification of putrefactive liquid during a GIS Burial experiment. Knowledge of this phenomenon is necessary to optimize burial conditions and to decrease cemetery congestion. In this preliminary study, we devised a method using thin-layer chromatography and gas chromatography to compare different putrefactive liquids. A comparison of lipid composition among two cadavers revealed a decrease in the decomposition rate of the cadaver that had the gelled putrefactive liquid. Essentially, fatty acids were observed in two types of extracts. The difference was quantitative: there was a higher amount of fatty acids in the gelled sample than in the standard liquid, suggesting a decrease of decomposition rate in the gelled extract. A large quantity of oleate salts may be favourable for solidification. In addition, an isomer of oleic acid (elaidic acid) could be present which may have a determining factor in the phenomenon of gelled putrefaction. A large amount of stearic acid was present in the gelled extract and may be involved in solidification. This method was efficient for comparing the lipid composition of different putrefactive liquids and may be used for a large-scale study. This is the first report concerning methods to determine the lipid composition of human decomposition liquids after 4 years postmortem.
Article
Soil samples recovered from grave exhumations have been analysed in an attempt to identify and characterise adipocere contained in the samples. The soil samples were collected from different environments, including samples recovered from forensic grave sites. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was employed to identify adipocere and characterise the fatty acid composition. X-ray diffraction was used to characterise the soil environments.
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