Microwave Assisted Digestion of Diatoms

MD-VF-Auto SEM represents a powerful combination of microwave digestion, vacuum filtration and automated scanning electron microscopy for the qualitative and quantitative determination of diatoms.


The Challenge

In forensic science, the determination of the cause of death for bodies discovered in water is one of the most challenging tasks. At present, the diatom test is considered as best practice procedure in solving drowning cases.

During the process of drowning, the diatoms in the water will be inhaled into
the lungs. Depending on the size some of them can enter into the blood stream and lodge in distant organs before death. The presence of diatoms in the tissue of internal organs not only indicates ante-mortem drowning but due to the distribution of characteristic species also gives information about the site of drowning.

Conventional methods for the digestion of organ material are rather time consuming and due to limited sensitivity often are restricted to their high false negative findings.

The Benefits of Microwave Digestion

Take profit from the following advantages by using microwave digestion as the first step of MD-VF-Auto SEM:


  • Better digestion quality: more complete digestion and thus higher
    recovery rates and sensitivity
  • Less contamination: less organic matter which leads to better diatom identification
  • Less operation time: about 15 min required for one digestion
  • Saving of money: much lower acid consumption due to closed vessels

Learn more about the Multiwave PRO

Good to know

Multiwave PRO can be equipped with different rotor types depending on the