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A new approach to amino acid racemization in enamel: Testing of a less destructive sampling methodology

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JournalJOURNAL OF FORENSIC SCIENCES
DatePublished - Jul 2008
Issue number4
Volume53
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)910-916
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Aspartic acid racemization has been found to be an accurate measure of age at death for recent forensic material. This paper examines the practicality of using acid etching of the tooth surface to extract amino acids from the enamel for racemization analysis. By serial etching of the tooth and contamination of the teeth with bovine serum albumin prior to etching, the ability of etching to remove contamination was assessed. The destructiveness of the method was visualized and quantified using micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). By bleaching the teeth and by deeper etching it was possible to obtain more consistent values. While etching had little effect on the enamel at the macroscale, it did have an impact at the microscale. The quantities of enamel removed varied depending upon the tooth morphology, but were not large. Acid etching of enamel thus appears to be a promising new method for extracting proteins for amino acid racemization age estimation noninvasively.

    Research areas

  • forensic science, forensic anthropology, amino acid racemization, age estimation, enamel, acid etching, contamination, AGE ESTIMATION, DENTAL ENAMEL, ASPARTIC-ACID, PROTEINS, RESIDUES

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