The impact of environmental factors on the production of peptides in mammalian decomposition fluid in relation to the estimation of post-mortem interval: A summer/winter comparison in Western Australia

Ashley-N’Dene Nolan, Robert J. Mead, Garth Maker, Scott Bringans, Samuel J. Speers (2019). Forensic Science International.



We report the peptide content of decomposition fluid produced under field-based conditions and in the absence of a soil matrix. Sixteen domestic pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) cadavers were used to model human decomposition in trials conducted in the summer and winter months in Western Australia. Physical characteristics were recorded and the peptide components of decomposition fluid were analysed using high performance liquid chromatography-time of flight mass spectrometry. A range of peptides was consistently detected in both summer and winter. Thirty seven peptides were common to both trials; 22 originating from haemoglobin subunit beta,1 from haemoglobin subunit alpha, 4 from beta-enolase, and 2 from creatine kinase. In agreement with our previous findings, 13 peptides occurred consistently, regardless of trial conditions. Degradation patterns for haemoglobin subunits alpha and beta in summer and winter were similar when expressed in ADD and when adjusted for differences in temperature. The consistent identification of several protein-specific peptides generated during decomposition trials conducted under different temperature and rainfall regimes suggests that quantitative peptide analysis may be useful in estimating time since death.



  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.