Predictable weathering of puparial hydrocarbons of necrophagous flies for determining the postmortem interval: a field experiment using Chrysomya rufifacies

TitlePredictable weathering of puparial hydrocarbons of necrophagous flies for determining the postmortem interval: a field experiment using Chrysomya rufifacies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsZhu G.H, Jia Z.J, Yu X.J, Wu K.S, Chen L.S, Lv J.Y, Benbow M.E
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Volume131
Pagination885-894
Date PublishedMay
ISBN Number0937-9827
Accession NumberWOS:000399218800034
KeywordsOil and Gas Degradation
AbstractPreadult development of necrophagous flies is commonly recognized as an accurate method for estimating the minimum postmortem interval (PMImin). However, once the PMImin exceeds the duration of preadult development, the method is less accurate. Recently, fly puparial hydrocarbons were found to significantly change with weathering time in the field, indicating their potential use for PMImin estimates. However, additional studies are required to demonstrate how the weathering varies among species. In this study, the puparia of Chrysomya rufifacies were placed in the field to experience natural weathering to characterize hydrocarbon composition change over time. We found that weathering of the puparial hydrocarbons was regular and highly predictable in the field. For most of the hydrocarbons, the abundance decreased significantly and could be modeled using a modified exponent function. In addition, the weathering rate was significantly correlated with the hydrocarbon classes. The weathering rate of 2-methyl alkanes was significantly lower than that of alkenes and internal methyl alkanes, and alkenes were higher than the other two classes. For mono-methyl alkanes, the rate was significantly and positively associated with carbon chain length and branch position. These results indicate that puparial hydrocarbon weathering is highly predictable and can be used for estimating long-term PMImin.
DOI10.1007/s00414-016-1507-0