Burying beetles will bury dead animals and rear their offspring on the carcass. Dead animals, buried or above ground are food for microbes that can produce toxins harmful to the beetles. How does a burying beetle protect its food supply?
Burying beetles coat the dead animal with protein-containing secretions from their digestive system that prevent microbial growth. A study* of genes in the burying beetle, Nicrophorus vespilloides, show found that the expression of a gene encoding a lysozyme increases over 1000-fold as the female begins to produce her secretion. Lysozymes are a family of enzymes that degrade polysaccharides. Lysozymes kill bacteria by degrading their cell walls and are present as an antimicrobial defense in many insects. Using lysozyme to coat the outside of a dead animal would be an effective preservative.
*William J. Palmer, Ana Duarte, Matthew Schrader, Jonathan P Day, Rebecca Kilner & Francis M. Jiggins. A gene for social immunity in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides?