Vol. 118 No. 1 (2013)
Original Article

Bacteria detected on surfaces of formalin fixed anatomy cadavers

Published 2013-05-28


  • cadavers,
  • medical science education,
  • research methods

How to Cite

Tabaac, B., Goldberg, G., Alvarez, L., Amin, M., Shupe-Ricksecker, K., & Gomez, F. (2013). Bacteria detected on surfaces of formalin fixed anatomy cadavers. Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, 118(1), 1–5. Retrieved from https://oajournals.fupress.net/index.php/ijae/article/view/1138


The purpose of this study is to determine if anatomy cadavers fixed in a formalin solution are a possible source of introduction of microorganisms into the anatomy laboratory. Routinely preserved cadavers were sampled for microbiological contaminates prior to examination and dissection by anatomy students. Regions sampled include the axilla, oral/nasal cavity, and inguinal/perineal region. Using conventional bacteriologic culture and identification methods our research group was able to successfully recover and identify a variety of organisms from all cadavers and in all regions tested.
The results indicate that cadavers processed with 10% buffered formalin have viable organisms on their surfaces that can be a source of contamination of laboratory equipment and clothing. Given the diversity of bacterial species cultured, preserved cadavers used for anatomy education as well as research must be considered a possible source for dissemination of bacterial organisms. This study underscores the importance of standard infection control protocols.