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Selective culturing and genus-specific PCR detection for identification of Aeromonas in tissue samples to assist the medico-legal diagnosis of death by drowning
Huys, G.; Coopman, V.; Van Varenbergh, D.; Cordonnier, J. (2012). Selective culturing and genus-specific PCR detection for identification of Aeromonas in tissue samples to assist the medico-legal diagnosis of death by drowning. Forensic Science International 221(1-3): 11-15. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.forsciint.2012.03.017
In: Forensic Science International. Elsevier. ISSN 0379-0738; e-ISSN 1872-6283, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Trefwoord
    Aeromonas Stanier, 1943 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Drowning; Aeromonas; ADA medium; PCR; Sternal puncture; Bone marrow

Auteurs  Top 
  • Huys, G., meer
  • Coopman, V.
  • Van Varenbergh, D.
  • Cordonnier, J.

Abstract
    The detection of autochthonous aquatic bacteria in tissue samples from drowning cases is increasingly considered as an alternative approach to assist the medico-legal diagnosis of death by drowning. Bacteria belonging to the genus Aeromonas may be suitable candidates for this application as they are ubiquitous in natural aquatic environments but are generally not part of the human microbiota. The research aims of this study were (i) to develop a sensitive, specific and rapid screening and confirmation method for Aeromonas species in tissue samples and (ii) to evaluate aseptic sternal puncture as a post-mortem sample technique and bone marrow as an alternative matrix to provide evidence of death by drowning. The presence of Aeromonas in tissue samples was verified by cultivation using the selective media Ampicillin Dextrin Agar (ADA) and Ryan's Aeromonas Medium. The use of ADA medium was found most optimal for the sensitive, inexpensive and quick detection of aeromonads in human tissue samples. Positive culture plates were confirmed by harvesting all colonies for DNA extraction and subsequent PCR amplification using Aeromonas genus-specific primers. Aeromonads were detected in lung swab, blood and bone marrow of drowned bodies (n = 3), but were negative in these three matrices for all negative controls (n = 90) tested. Bone marrow proved to be a suitable alternative matrix and can be sampled post-mortem by an aseptic sternal puncture. In conclusion, this study confirms previous indications that aeromonads in cultures from blood of water bodies can be considered a potential marker for drowning. Given the fact that the number of immersed bodies (drowned and non-drowned) included in this study is statistically not significant, however, more tissue samples need to be investigated to confirm the validity of these methods to aid the diagnosis of death by wet drowning.

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