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See detailReading Cadaveric Decomposition Chemistry with a New Pair of Glasses
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Perrault, Katelynn; Stadler, Sonja et al

in CHEMPLUSCHEM (2014)

Smell it out! Thermal desorption has been coupled with comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography time of-flight mass spectrometry for the characterization of a cadaveric volatile organic compound ... [more ▼]

Smell it out! Thermal desorption has been coupled with comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography time of-flight mass spectrometry for the characterization of a cadaveric volatile organic compound mixture producedduring the active decay stage (see figure). The combined use of the Fisher ratio and principal component analysis provided further characterization of the chemical profile of decomposition. [less ▲]

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See detailReading the decomposition chemistry of human remains with a new pair of glasses
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Stadler, Sonja; Perrault, Katelynn et al

Conference (2014, January)

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See detailInvestigation on human cadaveric VOC by TD-GCxGC-TOFMS
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Stadler, Sonja; Pesesse, Romain et al

Poster (2013, May)

The study of the ‘smell of death’ is a challenging task. Analytical chemists who try to understand human decomposition are facing very complex mixtures of analytes present at various levels. For the last ... [more ▼]

The study of the ‘smell of death’ is a challenging task. Analytical chemists who try to understand human decomposition are facing very complex mixtures of analytes present at various levels. For the last few decades, investigations have been conducted to better learn the process of body decomposition by mean of the measurement of the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) released during decay1. However, the chemical profile of the decomposition odor is still far from being elucidated. Indeed, the complexity of the VOC mixtures makes this profiling difficult to be carried out by a classical gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) approach. In previous studies, we developed direct-sampling based approaches for cadaveric VOC analysis from grave soils and decaying bodies by mean of thermal desorption (TD) coupled to comprehensive two-dimensional GC coupled to time-of-flight MS (GC×GC-TOFMS)2,3,4. They were based on the use of human analogs (Sus domesticus L. carcasses). For the present study, we investigated the VOC profile of early stage decomposition of human bodies. We analyzed samples collected during different trials organized during different seasons in a body farm located in Texas. Samples included environmental controls, pig carcasses, and human bodies (protected or not from scavenger insects). The data processing was performed in the light of identifying possible seasonal and species variations. Both peak capacity enhancement and spectral deconvolution helped to characterize VOC mixtures and improve comparisons of profiles. Acknowledgements: Human samples were collected during the project “Development and validation of standard operating procedures for measuring microbial populations for estimating a post-mortem interval” Grant Award No. 2010-DN-BX-K243. The authors of that grant are acknowledged for giving us the opportunity to access cadavers for sampling. 1. Vass, A.A. et al. Decompositional odor analysis database. J Forensic Sci (2004) 49, 1–10. 2. Brasseur C. et al. Comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry for the forensic study of cadaveric volatile organic compounds released in soil by buried decaying pig carcasses. J Chromatogr A (2012) 1255, 163–170. 3. Dekeirsschieter, J. et al. Enhanced characterization of the smell of death by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-TOFMS). PLoS ONE (2012) 7, e39005. 4. Stadler, S. Characterization of volatile organic compounds from human analogue decomposition using thermal desorption coupled to comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Anal Chem (2013) 85, 998–1005. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of Volatile Organic Compounds from Human Analogue Decomposition Using Thermal Desorption Coupled to Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography-Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Stadler, Sonja; Brokl, Michal et al

in Analytical Chemistry (2013), 85(2), 998-1005

Complex processes of decomposition produce a variety of chemicals as soft tissues, and their component parts are broken down. Among others, these decomposition byproducts include volatile organic ... [more ▼]

Complex processes of decomposition produce a variety of chemicals as soft tissues, and their component parts are broken down. Among others, these decomposition byproducts include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) responsible for the odor of decomposition. Human remains detection (HRD) canines utilize this odor signature to locate human remains during police investigations and recovery missions in the event of a mass disaster. Currently, it is unknown what compounds or combinations of compounds are recognized by the HRD canines. Furthermore, a comprehensive decomposition VOC profile remains elusive. This is likely due to difficulties associated with the nontarget analysis of complex samples. In this study, cadaveric VOCs were collected from the decomposition headspace of pig carcasses and were further analyzed using thermal desorption coupled to comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TD-GC × GC−TOFMS). Along with an advanced data handling methodology, this approach allowed for enhanced characterization of these complex samples. The additional peak capacity of GC × GC, the spectral deconvolution algorithms applied to unskewed mass spectral data, and the use of a robust data mining strategy generated a characteristic profile of decomposition VOCs across the various stages of soft-tissue decomposition. The profile was comprised of numerous chemical families, particularly alcohols, carboxylic acids, aromatics, and sulfides. Characteristic compounds identified in this study, e.g., 1-butanol, 1-octen-3-ol, 2-and 3-methyl butanoic acid, hexanoic acid, octanal, indole, phenol, benzaldehyde, dimethyl disulfide, and trisulfide, are potential target compounds of decomposition odor. This approach will facilitate the comparison of complex odor profiles and produce a comprehensive VOC profile for decomposition. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalysis of synthetic canine training aids by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography–time of flight mass spectrometry
Stefanuto, Pierre-Hugues ULg; Stadler, Sonja; Byer, jonathan et al

in Journal of Chromatography. A (2012), 1255

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