A study to model the post-mortem stability of 4-MMC, MDMA and BZP in putrefying remains

Daniel S. Wenholz, Susan Luong, Morgan Philp, Shari L Forbes, Barbara H Stuart, Olaf H. Drummer, Shanlin Fu

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5 Citations (Scopus)


There is currently limited data available on the stabilities of the three stimulants 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and N-benzylpiperazine (BZP) in a putrefying matrix. A Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) method to determine the concentration of the three drugs in putrefying porcine liver over a three month period was developed and validated. Both 4-MMC and BZP were found to be unstable, becoming undetectable and having an average recovery of 52% respectively after one month at ambient room temperature (20. °C). MDMA was found to be moderately stable, with an average recovery of 74% after three months at room temperature. This study indicated that the putrefaction process could have a significant impact on concentrations of 4-MMC and BZP in post-mortem cases involving putrefied remains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine
  • 4-methylmethcathinone
  • N-benzylpiperazine
  • Putrefactive degradation

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