The Formation of Ethanol in Postmortem Tissues

The Formation of Ethanol in Postmortem Tissues

Final Report

Printed Ephemera - 2004
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Sodium fluoride is the most commonly used preservative for postmortem specimens. Thus, we frequently rely on tissue specimens for ethanol analysis. The postmortem tissue specimens received by our laboratory have generally been subjected to severe trauma and may have been exposed to numerous microbial species capable of ethanol production. With this in mind, we designed an experiment utilizing unadulterated tissue specimens obtained from aviation accident victims to determine the effectiveness of sodium fluoride at various storage temperatures for the prevention of microbial ethanol formation.
During the investigation of aviation accidents, postmortem samples obtained from fatal accident victims are submitted to the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute for toxicological analysis. During toxicological evaluations, ethanol analysis is performed on all cases. Many species of bacteria, yeast and fungi have the ability to produce ethanol and other volatile organic compounds in postmortem specimens. The potential for postmortem ethanol formation complicates the interpretation of ethanol-positive results from accident victims. Therefore, the prevention of ethanol formation at all steps following specimen collection is a priority.
Publisher: Washington, DC : Office of Aerospace Medicine, U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, [2004]
Branch Call Number: TD 4.210:04/4
Characteristics: i, 11 p. : digital, PDF file

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