Article (Scientific journals)
All equal in the face of death! -Characterization of the volatile cadaveric compounds of fresh stage human corpses
Martin, Clément; Verheggen, François
2023In Forensic Chemistry, 35, p. 100516
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Keywords :
Cadaveric volatilome Human remains Target ion gas chromatography Fresh stage Forensic; Law; Materials Chemistry; Physical and Theoretical Chemistry; Spectroscopy; Pathology and Forensic Medicine; Analytical Chemistry
Abstract :
[en] The smell associated with the decomposition of a human body has been the subject of a limited number of studies, most using body parts or other vertebrates as surrogate models. Among the limitations frequently encountered in the existing literature are the small sample size and the high variability in terms of stages of decomposition. In the present study, we collected, identified, and quantified the volatile organic compounds released by 20 human corpses at the fresh stage, using dynamic headspace collection. We also assessed the impact of some parameters on the volatilome: skin temperature, gender, age, size, postmortem interval, presence of lividities or rigidities. We found 2-heptanone to account for nearly half the scent of fresh human cadavers. Four additional compounds were also repeatedly identified: dimethyl disulfide, ethyl acetate, limonene and 3methyl-1-butanol. The use of dynamic sampling and thermodesorption traps has allowed to increase the diversity of collected postmortem molecules, compared to previous works. However, no human specific markers were found, either because they do not exist at the fresh stage, or because they are released at trace levels. Finally, none of the tested parameters impacted the volatile profile of human corpses. We recommend performing similar assays on more advanced stages to help completing our understanding of human decomposition.
Disciplines :
Life sciences: Multidisciplinary, general & others
Author, co-author :
Martin, Clément  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Département GxABT > Gestion durable des bio-agresseurs
Verheggen, François  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > TERRA Research Centre > Gestion durable des bio-agresseurs
Language :
Title :
All equal in the face of death! -Characterization of the volatile cadaveric compounds of fresh stage human corpses
Publication date :
21 July 2023
Journal title :
Forensic Chemistry
Publisher :
Elsevier BV
Volume :
Pages :
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Available on ORBi :
since 18 August 2023


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