Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Published in Journal of Forensic Science 61:5 (September 2016), pp. 1356-1358. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.13121


Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Forensic Sciences; published by John Wiley. Used by permission.


We tested procedures for removing adipocere from insect samples to allow identification. An acceptable procedure was determined: (i) Samples were sorted in petri dishes with 75% alcohol to remove any larvae, adult insects, or other soft-bodied material. (ii) Samples of up to 24 puparia were placed in a vial with 15 mL of 95% acetone, capped, and vortexed for a total of 30–90 sec in 10- to 15-sec bursts. This step removed large masses of adipocere or soil from specimen. (iii) Specimens were removed from acetone and placed in a vial of 15 mL of 2% potassium hydroxide (KOH) and vortexed in 10- to 15-sec bursts until all puparia appeared clean (with our samples this required a total of 60–120 sec). (iv) Specimens were removed from the 2% KOH, placed in 75% ethanol, and examined microscopically. (v) Material was stored in 75% ethanol for identification and long-term preservation