Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry vol:406 issue:15 pages:3611-9
Differentiation between human and animal remains by means of analysis of volatile compounds released during decomposition is impossible since no volatile marker(s) specific for human decomposition has been established today. Hence, the identification of such a marker for human decomposition would represent great progression for the discovery of buried cadavers by analytical techniques. Cadaver dogs can be trained more efficiently, the understanding of forensic entomology can be enhanced, and the development of a portable detection device may be within reach. This study describes the development and validation of a new analytical method that can be applied in the search of such (a) specific marker(s). Sampling of the volatile compounds released by decomposing animal and human remains was performed both in a laboratory environment and outdoors by adsorption on sorbent tubes. Different coatings and several sampling parameters were investigated. Next, the volatile compounds were analyzed and identified by a thermal desorber combined with gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (TD-GC/MS). Different GC columns were tested. Finally, the analytical method was validated using a standard mixture of nine representative compounds.