Shifts in soil biodiversity—A forensic comparison between Sus scrofa domesticus and vegetation decomposition

Ayodeji Olakanye, Timothy Thompson, Theresia Ralebitso-Senior

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    Abstract

    In a forensic context, microbial-mediated cadaver decomposition and nutrient recycling cannot be overlooked. As a result, forensic ecogenomics research has intensified to gain a better understanding of cadaver/soil ecology interactions as a powerful potential tool for forensic practitioners. For this study, domestic pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) (4 g) and grass (Agrostis/Festuca spp) cuttings (4 g) were buried (July 2013 to July 2014) in sandy clay loam (80 g) triplicates in sealed microcosms (127 ml; 50 × 70 cm) with parallel soil only controls. The effects of the two carbon sources were determined by monitoring key environmental factors and changes in soil bacterial (16S rRNA gene) and fungal (18S rRNA gene) biodiversity. Soil pH changes showed statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) between the treatments. The measured ecological diversity indices (Shannon–Wiener, HꞋ; Simpson, D; and richness, S) of the 16S rRNA and 18S rRNA gene profiles also revealed differences between the treatments, with bacterial and fungal community dominance recorded in the presence of S. scrofa domesticus and grass trimming decomposition, respectively. In contrast, no statistically significant difference in evenness (p > 0.05) was observed between the treatments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)402-407
    JournalScience & Justice
    Volume55
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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