Scanning Electron Microscopy–Energy-Dispersive X-Ray (SEM/EDX)

A Rapid Diagnostic Tool to Aid the Identification of Burnt Bone and Contested Cremains

Sarah T.D. Ellingham, Tim J.U. Thompson, Meez Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigates the use of Scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX) as a diagnostic tool for the determination of the osseous origin of samples subjected to different temperatures. Sheep (Ovis aries) ribs of two experimental groups (fleshed and defleshed) were burned at temperatures of between 100°C and 1100°C in 100°C increments and subsequently analyzed with the SEM-EDX to determine the atomic percentage of present elements. Three-factor ANOVA analysis showed that neither the exposure temperature, nor whether the burning occurred with or without soft tissue present had any significant influence on the bone's overall elemental makeup (p > 0.05). The Ca/P ratio remained in the osseous typical range of between 1.6 and 2.58 in all analyzed samples. This demonstrates that even faced with high temperatures, the overall gross elemental content and atomic percentage of elements in bone remain stable, creating a unique “fingerprint” for osseous material, even after exposure to extreme conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-510
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume63
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2017

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Cremation
X-Rays
Electrons
Bone and Bones
Temperature
Domestic Sheep
Dermatoglyphics
Ribs
Statistical Factor Analysis
Sheep
Analysis of Variance

Bibliographical note

© 2017 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Cite this

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title = "Scanning Electron Microscopy–Energy-Dispersive X-Ray (SEM/EDX): A Rapid Diagnostic Tool to Aid the Identification of Burnt Bone and Contested Cremains",
abstract = "This study investigates the use of Scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX) as a diagnostic tool for the determination of the osseous origin of samples subjected to different temperatures. Sheep (Ovis aries) ribs of two experimental groups (fleshed and defleshed) were burned at temperatures of between 100°C and 1100°C in 100°C increments and subsequently analyzed with the SEM-EDX to determine the atomic percentage of present elements. Three-factor ANOVA analysis showed that neither the exposure temperature, nor whether the burning occurred with or without soft tissue present had any significant influence on the bone's overall elemental makeup (p > 0.05). The Ca/P ratio remained in the osseous typical range of between 1.6 and 2.58 in all analyzed samples. This demonstrates that even faced with high temperatures, the overall gross elemental content and atomic percentage of elements in bone remain stable, creating a unique “fingerprint” for osseous material, even after exposure to extreme conditions.",
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Scanning Electron Microscopy–Energy-Dispersive X-Ray (SEM/EDX) : A Rapid Diagnostic Tool to Aid the Identification of Burnt Bone and Contested Cremains. / Ellingham, Sarah T.D.; Thompson, Tim J.U.; Islam, Meez.

In: Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 63, No. 2, 12.06.2017, p. 504-510.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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