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Diatoms

Diatoms can be found by microscopic examination of tissues from brain, liver and bone marrow of long bonesQ such as femur, tibia, and humerus or sternum.
  1. Diatoms are microscopic, unicellular, silica coated algae.
  2. Diatoms are examined by acid digestion technique using conc. nitric acid.
  3. The deposit is examined under phase contrast or dark ground illumination.
  4. Only diatoms upto 60 microns enter the pulmonary circulation during drowning.
  5. Max. conc. Of diatoms is seen in femur and most commonly used bone is sternum.
  6. Gettler’s test:
    1. it differentiates fresh water drowning from sea water drowning.
    2. Fresh water drowning: chloride content of the left side of the heart is 50% lower than usual.
    3. Sea water drowning: chloride content of the left side of the heart is 30-40% higher than usual.




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