International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 127, Issue 2, pp 413–418 | Cite as

Confirmation of natural gas explosion from methane quantification by headspace gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (HS-GC-MS) in postmortem samples: a case report

  • V. VarletEmail author
  • M. Augsburger
Technical Note


A new analytical approach for measuring methane in tissues is presented. For the first time, the use of in situ-produced, stably labelled CDH3 provides a reliable and precise methane quantification. This method was applied to postmortem samples obtained from two victims to help determine the explosion origin. There was evidence of methane in the adipose tissue (82 nmol/g) and cardiac blood (1.3 nmol/g) of one victim, which corresponded to a lethal methane outburst. These results are discussed in the context of the available literature to define an analysis protocol for application in the event of a gas explosion.


Methane Explosion HS-GC-MS 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology UnitUniversity Centre of Legal Medicine Lausanne-GenevaLausanneSwitzerland

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