Decomposition process and post mortem changes: Review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Decomposition is degradation process of a corpse into basic respective constituents macroscopically and microscopically by action of microorganisms, arthropods and scavengers. Post mortem changes could be separated into early post mortem changes (i.e. algor mortis, rigor mortis and livor mortis) and putrefaction stages of corpse. These changes function as suitable indicators for determination of post mortem interval (PMI). In this paper, different stages of post mortem changes, possible variations such as mummification and formation of adipocere and special circumstances such as burial condition is discussed. This article also refers to several arguments in the different texture of adipocere and the influence of different types of fabric in affecting the post mortem changes and formation of adipocere. This is largely due to the property of permeability and resistance of material against degradation process. Undeniably, decomposition process involves numerous potential variables including burial condition, presence of clothing, potential formation of adipocere and mummification. Hence, studies in forensic taphonomy combined with real case scenario are crucial in understanding the nature of decomposition and estimation of PMI with higher accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1873-1882
Number of pages10
JournalSains Malaysiana
Volume43
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

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decomposition
degradation
taphonomy
scavenger
arthropod
microorganism
texture
permeability
indicator
fabric
clothing
material

Keywords

  • Adipocere
  • Burial condition
  • Decomposition
  • Mummification
  • Post mortem changes
  • Putrefaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Decomposition process and post mortem changes : Review. / Hau, Teo Chee; Hamzah, Noor Hazfalinda; Hing, Hiang Lian; Amir Hamzah, Sri Pawita Albakri.

In: Sains Malaysiana, Vol. 43, No. 12, 01.12.2014, p. 1873-1882.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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