Authors: Charlier Philippe
We present here the complete methodology for the microscopic analysis of residues of putrefaction fluid, a calcified deposit frequently found associated with bone rests, for both physical and forensic anthropology purposes. Sampling and analysis seem straightforward and relatively reproducible. All samples are studied by direct optical microscope and scanning electron microscopy. Many cytological, histological, and elemental analysis are possible, producing precious data for the identification of these remains and, in some cases, the cause of death.
DCD present as deposits of reddish (hematic) color mainly present on the sloping and endocranial part of the occipital bone, sometimes associated to the lateral parts of cervical vertebrae and, rarely, other bones.
Sampling: at least 1-cm- long fragment of PFD is sampled directly into the skull, ideally during anthropological or archeological survey.
Cleaning/decontamination: each sample is then cleaned by a fine scraping with non-contaminating plastic instruments and a delicate vaporization of pressured air on all the faces during 10 min. No gold covering is realized in order to be able to perform elemental analysis on the surface.
Environmental SEM examination of each sample is directly performed on a Philips XL30 CP with X-ray microanalysis (energy-dispersive X-ray spectros- copy). The resolution of the microscope is 3.5 nm at 30 kV using the secondary electron detector. All images are stored using a standard resolution digital frame store.
Optical microscope sample preparation is as follows:
The microscopic (optical and SEM) examination of putrefaction fluid deposits (PFD). Potential interest in forensic anthropology. P. Charlier, P. Georges, F. Bouchet, I. Huynh-Charlier, R. Carlier, V. Mazel, P. Richardin, L. Brun, J. Blondiaux, and G. Lorin de la Grandmaison. Virchows Archiv 453 (4) 377 - 386 16/09/2008 doi:10.1007/s00428-008-0670-1
Charlier Philippe, Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, University Hospital R. Poincaré (AP-HP, UVSQ), Garches, France
Correspondence to: Charlier Philippe ([email protected])
Source: Protocol Exchange (2013) doi:10.1038/protex.2013.044. Originally published online 15 April 2013.