Volume 42, Issue 1 (January 1997)
Estimation of Age from Teeth by Amino Acid Racemization: Influence of Fixative
To determine the age of a subject from teeth accurately utilizing the racemization rates of amino acids, standard samples of the same tooth species from the same jaw are necessary as controls, as well as data for identification. However, standard teeth are generally stored in fixatives such as ethanol and formalin. We investigated and compared the degree of progression of racemization of dentinal aspartic acid in teeth stored in 95% ethanol, 10% formalin, or 10% neutral formalin fixatives. The racemization rate of dentinal aspartic acid in teeth stored in 10% neutral formalin was the highest, followed by that for teeth stored in 10% formalin then that for teeth stored in 95% ethanol. Teeth stored in these fixatives at 15°C showed almost no progression of racemization. The racemization ratio (D/L ratio) in teeth extracted 10 years previously was almost unchanged from that at the time of extraction, and allowed an accurate evaluation of the subjects age at tooth extraction.