Analysis of the Effect of Alkaline Hydrolysis Cremation on Minerals and Trace Metals in Bone

Rebekah Quickel

Abstract


This research seeks to determine the changes that occur in bone during the Alkaline Hydrolysis Cremation (AHC) process. AHC is a form of cremation, which is considered by many, to be an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fire cremation. AHC is typically performed in a strongly basic solution under increased pressure and temperature to accelerate the natural decomposition a body typically undergoes. This process results in human or animal remains being completely decomposed with only bone ash remaining, which can be returned to the family. The AHC process was performed using pig femur bones in a pressure cooker with a potassium hydroxide solution to mimic the commercial process. Bone structure was analyzed qualitatively by visual inspection of the bones and quantitatively by monitoring the concentrations of calcium, magnesium, and iron ions during the AHC process. Metal ion analysis was performed using atomic absorption spectroscopy. The concentration of calcium fell within the range of 30.3 ppm to 125 ppm, the iron concentration ranged from 17 ppm to 68 ppm, and the magnesium concentration ranged from 7.65 ppm to 24.3 ppm.


Keywords


Alkaline Hydrolysis Cremation; Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; Bone Decomposition

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