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Putrefaction 1

  1. Bacterial enzymes from anaerobic organisms like LECITHINASE, produced by Clostridium welchii is most important for putrefaction.
  2. Features:
    1. Liquefaction of tissues
    2. Collection of gases
    3. Changes in the color
  3. First external sign:
    1. greenish discoloration over right iliac fossa
    2. Caused by Sulfmethhemoglobin
    3. Color appears 12-18 hrs in summers & 1-2 days in winter 
  4. Earliest internal change:
    1. Reddish brown discoloration of inner surface of the vessels (aorta)
    2. POSTMORTEM PURGE *: gases in the abdomen pushes the diaphragm upwards leading to blood-stained froth from mouth and nostrils
    3. Liver has honey-coombed or foamy appearance
    4. CASPER’S DICTUM (AIPG Jan 09) *: A body decomposes in air twice as rapidly as in water and 8 times as rapidly as in earth.(DAMP, MARSHY, SHALLOW GRAVES speeds-up putrefaction)
  5. Sequence of occurrence in organs:
    1. Larynx and trachea
    2. Stomach, intestines, spleen
    3. Liver and lungs
    4. Brain
    5. Heart
    6. Kidney,
    7. Bladder, Uterus, prostate
    8. Skin, muscle tendon
    9. Bone
  6. Putrefaction is retarded or decreased by: 
    1. Temperature < 0 0C (very low temperature)
    2. Temperature  > 48 0C (very high temperature) 
    3. dry weather
    4. ↓ air velocity
    5. tight clothing
    6. > 2m deep grave
    7. body in dry soil, body packed in coffin
    8. infants not fed
    9. wasting diseases like anaemia
    10. poisoning by Carbolic acid, ZnCl2, Strychnine, heavy metals like As, Sb
    11. in water slower than in air (Casper’s dictumQ- 1 wk of putrefaction in air = 2 wks in water = 8 wks in soil).
    12. Sex- male/female has no effect on putrefaction
Extra Edge
A. Decomposition is fast(PAASt) in Peritonitis, Anasarca, Asphyxia, Septicemia.
B. Putrefaction  is delayed in wasting disease, anemia, carbolic acid , zinc chloride,  Strychnine & arsenic   

Maggots on Marble


Flies (next Five days)

Liquifactive or colliquative putrefaction

2 days

5 days

Next 5 days (8–10 days)

5 –12 days                      

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