Identification of crystals forming on porcine articular cartilage : a new method for the estimation of the postmortem interval
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Journal of forensic sciences. - Philadelphia, Pa
, p. 1575-1582
University of Antwerp
Articular cartilage was examined to determine its decomposition sequence and its potential for assessing the postmortem interval. Scanning electron microscopy of articular cartilage from buried porcine trotters showed the presence of microcrystals on the synovial surface. These orthorhombic pyramidal or coffin-shaped crystals, appeared at 3weeks (22days) after interment and disappeared after 6weeks. The disappearance of these crystals was linked to decompositional changes to the integrity of the synovial joint. The formation and disappearance of these crystals was associated with a pH change at the cartilage surface. Scanning electron microscopy-energy-dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX) analysis showed that the five main elements contained within these crystals were carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, magnesium, and phosphorous. Such elemental analysis suggested the crystals may be struvite (MgNH(4)PO(4)6(H2O)). Bacteria cultured from the cartilage synovial surface produced struvite crystals when grown in suitable media and were identified by DNA analysis to be Comamonas sp.