Characterization of Adipocere Formation in Animal Species

    Volume 50, Issue 3 (May 2005)

    ISSN: 0022-1198


    Published Online: 6 April 2005

    Page Count: 8

    Dent, BB
    University of Technology, Sydney,

    Stuart, BH
    University of Technology, Sydney,

    Forbes, SL
    Centre for Forensic Science, University of Western Australia,

    Fenwick-Mulcahy, S
    University of Technology, Sydney,

    (Received 5 September 2004; accepted 22 January 2005)


    Adipocere is a soft white substance formed postmortem from fatty tissue in a decomposing body. In this preliminary study the formation of adipocere in soil was investigated for a number of animal species. Adipocere was formed from the fatty tissue of pig, cattle, sheep and rabbit. It was found that adipocere did not form from the fatty tissue of chicken or kangaroo in the time frame investigated. The issues being considered are relevant to the forensic examination of remains whose origin is otherwise uncertain or which are, in some way, related to human remains. Infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry were used to characterise the composition of adipocere formed in the various species after different burial durations. Adipocere was observed to form at different rates among the species, but there was no distinct evidence of the fundamental composition varying between species.

    Paper ID: JFS2004364

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS2004364

    ASTM International
    is a member of CrossRef.

    Title Characterization of Adipocere Formation in Animal Species
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30