Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New experiments reveal the types of bacteria involved in human decomposition

Date:
October 30, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
The type of bacteria involved in human decomposition can change over time, according to new research.

The type of bacteria involved in human decomposition can change over time, according to new research published October 30th in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, by Aaron Lynne and colleagues at Sam Houston State University and Baylor College of Medicine.

A corpse is far from dead when viewed as an ecosystem for tiny bugs and microorganisms. Bacteria can take some credit for driving the natural process of human decomposition, but we know little about the diversity of bacterial species involved. Previous studies have been unfortunately limited to the traditional approach of culturing bacteria, whereas the vast majority of bacteria residing in the human body cannot actually be cultured experimentally.

To help address this problem, the authors studied the decomposition of two human cadavers under natural conditions. They assessed bacterial biodiversity using a gene sequencing method of analyzing bacterial DNA, rather than relying on traditional culture methods. This sequencing method allowed them to measure bacterial genes present in any given region of the cadaver, giving them a high-throughput way of mapping out an entire microbial community at two different time points.

They found that these bacterial communities were different between the two bodies and between regions on the same body, and these communities changed over the time-course of decomposition. The authors suggest that bacterial communities may be following specific, changing patterns as a corpse moves through its natural stages of decomposition. This gene sequencing approach may be a valuable tool for further dissecting the role of bacteria in human decomposition. Lynne expands, "This study is the first to catalogue bacteria present internally at the onset and end of the bloat stage of human decomposition. Ultimately, we hope to come up with a cumulative systems approach to look at decomposition in a way that might complement existing forensic models at determining the post-mortem interval (time since death)."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Embriette R. Hyde, Daniel P. Haarmann, Aaron M. Lynne, Sibyl R. Bucheli, Joseph F. Petrosino. The Living Dead: Bacterial Community Structure of a Cadaver at the Onset and End of the Bloat Stage of Decomposition. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (10): e77733 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077733

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "New experiments reveal the types of bacteria involved in human decomposition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030185930.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, October 30). New experiments reveal the types of bacteria involved in human decomposition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030185930.htm
Public Library of Science. "New experiments reveal the types of bacteria involved in human decomposition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030185930.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins