Using ninhydrin to detect gravesoil

Carter, David O., Yellowlees, David, and Tibbett, Mark (2008) Using ninhydrin to detect gravesoil. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 53 (2). pp. 397-400.

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Abstract

Some death scene investigations commence without knowledge of the location of the body and/or decomposition site. In these cases, it is necessary to locate the remains or the site where the body decomposed prior to movement. We hypothesized that the burial of a mammalian cadaver will result in the release of ninhydrin reactive nitrogen (NRN) into associated soil and that this reaction might have potential as a tool for the identification of clandestine graves. Juvenile rat (Rattus rattus) cadavers were buried in three contrasting soil types in Australian tropical savanna ecosystems and allowed to decompose over a period of 28 days. Soils were sequentially harvested and analyzed for NRN. Cadaver burial resulted in an approximate doubling (mean = 1.7 ± 0.1) in the concentration of soil NRN. This reaction has great potential to be used as a presumptive test for gravesoil and this use might be greatly enhanced following more detailed research.

Item ID: 6595
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1556-4029
Keywords: forensic Science; taphonomy; cadaver decomposition; grave location; clandestine
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2010 02:13
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069901 Forensic Biology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8399 Other Animal Production and Animal Primary Products > 839999 Animal Production and Animal Primary Products not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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