New method for estimating the post-mortem interval using the chemical composition of different generations of empty puparia: Indoor cases

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Abstract

Most flies of forensic importance are in two superfamilies, the Muscoidea and the Oestroidea, with similar life stages including the puparium. Upon completion of metamorphosis the adult fly emerges from the puparium, leaving behind an exuvia that is of potential significance in forensic investigation. The empty puparium is a durable piece of entomological evidence lasting several years. Through the study of chemical compounds, specifically the hydrocarbons of these puparia, it is possible to identify the species, in addition to how long they have been exposed to weathering and for this reason, these parameters can assist forensic entomologists in estimating long-term postmortem interval (minPMI). In corpses that take a relatively longer time to decompose, insects may use the same corpses for several oviposition cycles. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a new method to determine the PMI based on chemical compounds of the puparia from different oviposition cycles of the fly Chrysomya megacephala. The chemical composition of 50 puparia from different cycles of oviposition were evaluated by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). In total, 60 compounds were identified ranging from C18 to C34, 38 of those were common to all generations. Our results demonstrate that chemical profiles can be used to differentiate puparia collected from successive cycles, and therefore valuable in the estimation of minPMI.

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Paula, M. C., Michelutti, K. B., Eulalio, A. D. M. M., Piva, R. C., Cardoso, C. A. L., & Antonialli-Junior, W. F. (2018). New method for estimating the post-mortem interval using the chemical composition of different generations of empty puparia: Indoor cases. PLoS ONE, 13(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209776

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