Volume 47, Issue 1 (January 2002)
Age Estimation by Measuring the Racemization of Aspartic Acid from Total Amino Acid Content of Several Types of Bone and Rib Cartilage: A Preliminary Account
Age estimation has been often performed based on the rate of aspartic acid racemization using bones. In this study, we investigated various kinds of bone and a cartilage for suitability to estimate age by racemization. Ten male cadavers aged 22 to 77 years at death were selected, and bone specimens and cartilage were taken from seven sites in each individual. The rate of racemization of aspartic acid among total amino acid contained in each specimen was analyzed by gas chromatography. The correlation coefficient between the rate of racemization and chronological age was relatively high in the sternum, skull, and femur. The rates of aspartic acid racemization were high in the costal cartilage, femur, and skull. In addition, we found that the rate of racemization was only slightly lower after the second irrigation than after the first irrigation in femur and skull bone specimens, but those of others were significantly lower. These findings showed that among the six different bones and rib cartilage, the skull and femur might be used most effectively for age estimation using total amino acid fraction.