SOFT - TIAFT 1998 Poster Session 3 Thursday October 8, 1998

Vera A. Coopman, Jan A. Cordonnier, Wim I. Goeteyn and Dirk K.Van Varenbergh*

Laboratory of Analytical Toxicology, Chemiphar NV, Lieven Bauwensstraat 4, Bruges, Belgium
* Deparment of Forensic Medicine, University of Ghent, Kluyskensstraat 29, Gent, Belgium

A woman killed herself by ingestion of a large amount of petrol (gasoline) in combin-ation with ethanol, trazodone and barbiturates. At autopsy 180 ml of petrol was present in the stomach. Petrol was identified with headspace GC/MS. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, p-xylene, o-ethyltoluene, m-ethyltoluene and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, constituents of petrol, were identified in the postmortem samples by headspace GC/MS and quantitatively determined using gas chromatography and flame ionization detection (GC/FID). Blood, liver, kidney, brain tissue, eye fluid, bile and stomach content were collected at autopsy.

Blood (5 mL), kidney, liver, brain (5 g), eye fluid (0.1 mL), bile (1 mL) were added to a headspace vial containing 5 mL of water (10 mL for eye fluid and 9 mL for bile), 2 g of sodium chloride and 100 µg diphenylmethane used as internal standard. After homogenization of the tissue samples, the vials were sealed and sonicated for 15 min. The vials were submitted to headspace GC/FID analysis : after 35 min incubation at 80°C, 2 mL of headspace was auto-matically injected into a Varian gas chromatograph equipped with a DB1301 colomn. The GC/FID procedure was checked for interference by analysis of blank postmortem samples.

Results In the eye fluid no constituents of petrol were found. In the other postmortem samples p-xylene, o-ethyltoluene, m-ethyltoluene and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene were identified. Benzene and toluene were only detected in the blood and brain tissue.

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