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Apport de la résonance magnétique nucléaire des solides à la caractérisation chimique et à la datation des os en anthropologie médico-légale

Abstract : The post mortem interval estimation is a fundamental step in forensic anthropology and up to now there are little accurate and reliable methods to do so. The objectives of our study were to investigate the bone composition and its evolution over years and centuries following the death by developing carbon 13C and proton 1H solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). We analyzed about one hundred human and animal bones for which the age at death, sex, date of death and the storage conditions were known. Bones were characterized at the molecular level by identification of collagen, lipids and hydroxyapatite embedded in the bone matrix. We have designed a NMR-based method that allows determining alterations on some samples, evidencing the presence of adipocere (bone wax) within the bone, or finding bone tissue deterioration on some very old samples. Subject age at death and sex did not reveal significant changes on NMR data, except for post mortem interval ranging between 0 to 1 year, where female subjects had quantitatively more lipids in their bones than males. Storage conditions may promote a greater development of adipocere especially for bones left in the open air compared to those buried. Finally, we report a quantitative decrease of collagen and lipids present in the bone tissue when the post mortem interval increases. This decrease is much faster for lipids than for collagen where as the hydroxyapatite has a relative stability in the first centuries after the death. Decreases occur with very different time constants, ranging from years to millennia.
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Vanessa Urzel. Apport de la résonance magnétique nucléaire des solides à la caractérisation chimique et à la datation des os en anthropologie médico-légale. Anthropologie biologique. Université de Bordeaux, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014BORD0019⟩. ⟨tel-01154494⟩

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