Characterization of the volatile odor profile from larval masses in a field decomposition setting

Katie Blanar, Paola Tiedemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By studying insect populations and subsequent larval stages, forensic examiners can use entomology as a tool to estimate time of death, evaluate trauma present in body, and even determine if the corpse was moved based on the types of insects found. Due to the close contact between insect and decomposition source, this study aimed to investigate whether a larval mass sample could yield an odor profile distinctive of the various stages of decomposition using pig cadavers as models. Instrumental evaluation utilized Solid Phase-Microextraction (SPME) coupled with Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC–MS) for the identification of extracted volatile odor profiles of maggots. There were 107compounds detected in larvae samples. Of these, a total of 10 compounds were selected as frequently occurring in the larvae matrix. Sulfurs and ketones were observed in the early stages of decomposition, followed by alcohols such as phenol and indole in later stages. Based on the analysis of released v
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100288
JournalForensic Chemistry
StatePublished - Oct 2020


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