Skip to main content

Adipocere, also known as corpse wax, grave wax or mortuary wax, is a wax-like organic substance formed by the anaerobic bacterial hydrolysis of fat in tissue, such as body fat in corpses.

Adipocere formation may occur in wet or immersed bodies. Adipocere is a yellow-brown, waxy material composed of long chain hydrocarbons such as oleic, palmitic, and stearic acids. It is produced by the conversion of neutral lipids to these compounds as part of the putrefaction process. Both enzymes in the body and within bacteria contribute to the conversion of lipids present in the body to the components of adipocere.

Fig.1 Adipocere can occur in warm, wet environments.

Inadequate oxygen combined with a surplus of lipids results in insufficient microbial degradation. Adipocere has a characteristic appearance and is generally resistant to further decomposition. The formation of adipocere usually occurs over a somewhat lengthy postmortem period, typically several months. However, relatively rapid formation of adipocere has been described.

Latest posts

Fig.1 Animal predation by a dog.

Animal predation by a dog

| Animal Scavenging | No Comments
Russia. This individual died at his home from thromboembolism, he was found a week later, during that time…
Fig.1 Marbling.

Marbling

| Decomposition | No Comments
Marbling is a common finding usually found after at least 24 h since death occurred and is a…
Fig.3 Upper torso covered with cheese underneath upper body tights.

Man covered in cheese found dead after autoerotic activity

| Accident, Asphyxiation, Autoerotic Death | No Comments
Germany. A 40-year-old man who lived alone was found deceased in his apartment on the 13th floor of…
Fig.1 Contact gunshot wound from a shotgun slug.

Contact gunshot wound from a shotgun slug

| Gunshot, Suicide | No Comments
Contact gunshot wound from a shotgun slug. The entrance wound can be seen under the chin and the…