Navigation Links
Body of evidence: New fast, reliable method to detect gravesoil
Date:7/30/2010

Nothing against bloodhounds, but finding bodies buried by someone who wanted them to stay undiscovered can be difficult. However a new technique developed by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), can reliably detect biochemical changes in a decomposing cadaver.

Typically, cadaver-sniffing dogs or ground penetrating radar are used to detect clandestine gravesites. But these methods are not always useful in all scenarios, such as if a body is buried under concrete. The NIST instrument is a modification of a technique developed at the lab to sense minute levels of difficult-to-detect chemical compounds. (See "Prototype NIST Method Detects and Measures Elusive Hazards," NIST Tech Beat, Sept. 8, 2009) The process uses an alumina-coated, porous layer, open tubular (PLOT) column with a motorized pipette that pulls in air samples at ambient temperatures. The device detects trace amounts of ninhydrin-reactive nitrogen (NRN) that collects in air pockets above and close to gravesoil. Previously, this process involved the tedious and expensive process of solvent extraction of soil samples. Now, a simple probe slightly thicker than a human hair can be inserted into the ground to detect decaying flesh.

Developed by NIST chemists Thomas J. Bruno and Tara M. Lovestead and spelled out in a paper published in Forensic Science International,* this is the only known example of detecting NRN in the vapor phase and gives detectives another tool for finding hidden graves. Moreover, Bruno said that the device can be used to detect a body buried under a concrete slab, merely by drilling a one-eighth-inch hole and inserting the probe, thereby eliminating the need for unnecessary digging.

Bruno and Lovestead used frozen, dead feeder rats for their study and took samples of rats buried under 8 centimeters of soil, laid on top of the soil and from boxes with no dead rats in them. They took samples at one week intervals for six weeks and then again at 10 and 20 weeks and found that after five weeks, the amount of NRN was at its highest, but it was still detectable after 20 weeks.

The device operates at room temperatures, as opposed to ultra-cold temperatures, which is a big plus for future portability as well as the fact that it employs chemicals already in use by law enforcement officials (ninhydrin reagent) for exposing latent fingerprints. Bruno is working on making a portable version of the instrumentat present only the sampling device is portable; testing of samples must still be done in the labgiving this new device and detection process great promise for use by law enforcement officials in the field.


'/>"/>

Contact: James Burrus
james.burrus@nist.gov
303-497-4789
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
2. Nature cover study provides new standards for reliable fisheries
3. Gold Standard/Elsevier offers timely, reliable drug pricing data, including average wholesale price
4. Widely used virus assay shown unreliable when compared to other methods
5. NIST IREX Evaluation Judges VeriEye 2.1 One of the Most Reliable in Iris Recognition
6. Individual cells isolated from biological clock can keep daily time, but are unreliable
7. TECNALIA investigates advanced biomaterials to make more reliable and hardwearing medical implants
8. California team to receive up to $122 million to develop method to produce fuels from sunlight
9. Mother Nature to provide an environmentally friendly method for reducing mosquitoes
10. BioDonostia evaluates the use of a food-related method for the diagnosis of hepatic steatosis
11. New biofuels processing method for mobile facilities
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/20/2016)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Jan. 20, 2016 ... leading developer of human interface solutions, today announced ... touch controller solution for wearables and small screen ... appliances such as printers. Supporting round and rectangular ... the S1423 offers excellent performance with moisture on ...
(Date:1/15/2016)... JUAN, Puerto Rico , Jan. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... companies big and small to find new ways to ... driven culture. iOS and Android ... device based on biometrics, transforming it into a hardware ... request that users swipe their fingerprint on their KodeKey ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... , January 13, 2016 ... the addition of the  "India Biometrics ... & Forecast (2015-2020)"  report to ... ) has announced the addition of ... Market - Estimation & Forecast (2015-2020)" ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... LOUISVILLE, Ky. , Feb. 10, 2016 ... company utilizing its proprietary NeXosome® technology for early ... presentation of its most recent study by Dr. ... Hospital at the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine,s (SMFM) ... , GA, February 1-6 th , 2016.  The presentation ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Feb. 10, 2016  IsoRay, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), ... and medical radioisotope applications for the treatment of prostate, ... announced its financial results for the second quarter and ... 2015. --> --> ... of fiscal 2016, which ended December 31, 2015, a ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Benchmark Research, a ... promotion of two long-standing principal investigators (PI) to the roles of Chief Medical ... Development. , Dr. Laurence Chu, a Benchmark Research PI in the Austin office, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... SonaCare Medical, ... and support program, Sonalinkā„¢ remote monitoring. The inaugural launch of this new technology ... 5th, connecting Dr. Samuel Peretsman to a HIFU technical expert at SonaCare Medical ...
Breaking Biology Technology: