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Determination of Drug Levels in Two Species of Necrophagous Coleoptera Reared on Substrates Containing Morphine

NCJ Number
188963
Journal
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 46 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2001 Pages: 600-603
Author(s)
Benoit Bourel Ph.D.; Gilles Tournel M.D.; Valery Hedouin M.D.; M. Lee Goff Ph.D.; Didier Gosset M.D.
Date Published
May 2001
Length
4 pages
Annotation
This study demonstrates the potential for use of necrophagous Coleoptera, as well as Diptera larvae, as alternate specimens for toxicological analyses.
Abstract
Two species of necrophagous Coleoptera -- Dermestes frischi (Dermestidae) and Thanatophilus sinuatus (Silphidae) -- were reared on substrates containing different amounts of morphine. Colonies of D. frischi were reared on rabbit carcasses which had been given 10, 20, and 40 mg/h of morphine hydrochloride via ear artery perfusion over a 3-hour period prior to death. A fourth rabbit served as a control. T. sinuatus was reared on minced beef spiked with morphine hydrochloride to give concentrations of 1,000, 2,500, 5,000, and 10,000 ng/g and one control colony. These dosages were calculated to create tissue concentrations of morphine similar to those encountered in human deaths resulting from morphine overdose. Larvae, pupae, and adults (except for T. sinuatus) were analyzed for morphine content. All developmental stages of D. frischi were positive for morphine and concentrations correlated with cadaveric concentrations during larval stages and to a lesser extent in the adult stage. For T. sinuatus, the best correlations were found in second and third instar larvae. The study demonstrates the potential for use of necrophagous Coleoptera, as well as Diptera larvae, as alternate specimens for toxicological analyses. Figures, tables, references