The chemical analyses of ‘bog butters’ recovered from peat bogs of Scotland were performed with the aim of determining their origins. Detailed compositional information was obtained from ‘bog butter’ lipids using high temperature gas chromatography (HTGC) and GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The results indicate the degree to which ‘bog butters’ have undergone diagenetic alterations during burial to form an adipocere like substance, consisting predominately of hexadecanoic (palmitic) and octadecanoic (stearic) acids. GC-combustion-isotope ratio MS (GC-C-IRMS) was used to determine δ13C values for the dominant fatty acids present, revealing for the first time that ‘bog butters’ were derived from both ruminant dairy fats and adipose fats. The results are compared and contrasted with modern reference fats and adipoceres produced in vitro.
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