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Nutrient dynamics of annual ryegrass as a tool in forensic investigation on burial sites

Meza, Thalia (2017) Nutrient dynamics of annual ryegrass as a tool in forensic investigation on burial sites. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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The burial of a corpse presents forensic investigators with the problems of gravesite location and post deposition estimation. Botany has a predominant role in the assessment of graves, its potential for providing temporal and gravesite indication is continually being researched. This research aimed to provide a proof of concept of the use of Dumas combustion on ryegrass growing on decomposing pork, and provide temporal and grave indication. The experimental design, involved growing tetraploid ryegrass seeds over two different growing mediums; washed river sand and ground soil. Grass was left to grow within the growing mediums which consisted of repetitions of buried pork, non-fertiliser treated and non-pork treated groups. Grass was harvested, dried and underwent nitrogen and ICP analysis. The dry matter yield of grass that resulted, show some level of growth difference between grass grow on buried pork and non-treated control groups. Nitrogen levels between these groups was also very different with increased levels seen between all groups on the second harvest, non-fertiliser treated groups were an exception. Further research is warranted to explore the full use of Dumas and validate the observations noted.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor(s): Magni, Paola and Maddern, Rowan
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