Determination of pesticides in postmortem blood and bone marrow of pesticide treated rabbits

Forensic Sci Int. 2009 Aug 10;189(1-3):82-7. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2009.04.017. Epub 2009 May 17.


Forensic toxicological analyses have traditionally focused on the use of blood, body fluids, and certain organs in examinations of deaths due to intoxication. However, in some situations, putrefaction and contamination make proper sampling from tissues impossible, such as in exhumation cases. In these cases, bone marrow might be useful as an alternative specimen since it is a potential depot for drugs. This study aims to determine pesticides in postmortem and putrefied bone marrow of pesticide treated rabbits, so as to reveal the diagnostic value of toxicological analysis of bone marrow in exhumation cases. Out of thirteen rabbits, a 110 mg/kg dose of endosulfan was orally given to six through a gavage tool, and a 2500 mg/kg dose of diazinon was given to six using the same method. One rabbit was not treated with anything and served as a control sample. Venous blood, liver, lung, kidney, brain, and bone marrow samples were collected just after spontaneous death or cervical dislocation. After this, the rabbits were buried in soil. All of them were exhumed 1 month later, and putrefied viscera and bone marrow were sampled. Blood and tissue samples underwent solvent extraction and solid phase extraction, and then the samples were analyzed by GC-MS. Mean residue levels of diazinon in early postmortem samples were 85 mg/kg, 71 mg/kg, 23 mg/kg, 21 mg/kg, 19 mg/kg, and 0.4 mg/l in the liver, bone marrow, kidney, lung, brain, and blood, respectively. Mean residue levels of diazinon in the putrefied body were 3327 mg/kg in putrefied viscera and 1783 mg/kg in the bone marrow. Mean residue levels of endosulfan isomers and metabolites in early postmortem samples (blood, liver, lung, kidney, brain, and bone marrow) were 0.46 mg/kg (endosulfan sulfate), 0.32 mg/kg (alpha and beta isomers of endosulfan), and 0.14 mg/kg (endosulfan ether) while the same levels were 0.26 mg/kg (endosulfan sulfate), 0.24 mg/kg (alpha and beta isomers of endosulfan), and 0.1 mg/kg (endosulfan ether) in putrefied samples (putrefied bone marrow and putrefied viscera). Based on these experimental results, it can be concluded that cause of death can be determined as acute pesticide poisoning by toxicological analysis of samples from bone marrow and putrefied viscera in exhumation cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / chemistry*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Burial
  • Diazinon / analysis*
  • Diazinon / poisoning
  • Endosulfan / analogs & derivatives
  • Endosulfan / analysis*
  • Endosulfan / poisoning
  • Exhumation*
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Insecticides / analysis*
  • Insecticides / poisoning
  • Isomerism
  • Kidney / chemistry
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Lung / chemistry
  • Poisoning / diagnosis
  • Postmortem Changes
  • Rabbits


  • Insecticides
  • endosulfan ether
  • endosulfan sulfate
  • Endosulfan
  • Diazinon