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Fungi can be a useful forensic tool

, : Fungi can be a useful forensic tool. Legal Medicine 8(4): 240-242

We present a practical case in which the fungi have contributed to the estimation of postmortem interval of the cadaver. A 71-year-old man wearing a shirt and pants was found dead at the bottom of an open well about 6 m below the ground in his garden. Externally the face was dotted with colonies of white fungi, which was devoid of dipteran larvae and other insects. The fungi were identified as Penicillium sp. and Aspergillus terrous. These fungi, widely inhabit in the life circumstances, can generally colonize 3-7 days after attaching on the subjects. The appearance of the body surface, the state of decomposition of various organs, police information describing that the man had last been seen 12 days before discovery and the fungal evidence indicated that the man had been dead for about 10 days. We suggest that fungi can provide an useful means of estimating the minimum interval since death when forensic entomology is not applicable. Although, no data about growth rates of the fungi on human cadavers have been available, further researches should be needed to clarify the successive colonization of fungi on human cadavers. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


PMID: 16798051

DOI: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2006.04.005

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