Putrefaction vs. decomposition. A note to myself.

Skeletal formula of cadaverine (pentane-1,5-di...

Cadaverine

Putrefaction is the decomp of animal protein by anaerobic microorganisms (putrefying bacteria), whereas decomposition is a more general process.

During putrefaction one will observe amines such as putrescine and cadaverine. A subject to putrefaction is called “putrescible

Brief description of putrefaction of a human body with respect to time of death:

2–3 days: Staining begins on the abdomen. The body begins to swell, owing to gas formation.
3–4 days: The staining spreads and veins become discolored.
5–6 days: The abdomen swells with gas (produced by the bacteria that decompose the body), and the skin blisters.
2 weeks: The abdomen becomes very tight and swollen.
3 weeks: Tissues begin to soften. Organs and cavities are bursting. The nails fall off.
4 weeks: Soft tissues begin to liquefy, and the face becomes unrecognizable.

The exact rate of putrefaction is dependent upon many factors, such as weather, exposure and location.

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