Elemental labeling for the identification of proteinaceous-binding media in art works by ICP-MS

ArticleinJournal of Mass Spectrometry 46(12):1297-303 · December 2011with 129 Reads
DOI: 10.1002/jms.2021 · Source: PubMed
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Abstract
In the history of art, artists have used many different organic compounds to dissolve pigments and apply them onto a support to obtain a paint layer. Proteins were used with success from the Middle Ages up to the Renaissance, and the traditional protein sources were animal parts (skins, tendons and bones) or milk and eggs. Moreover, some of these materials are commonly used as adhesive. In this paper, the first application of the metallomic analytical technique to the identification of proteins in artworks is reported. Samples were derivatized with DTPA/Eu and the derivatization procedure was evaluated by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight before high performance liquid chromatography inductively coupled plasma MS analysis. This study has been carried out on laboratory models prepared in-house for method development, resulting in the correct identification of the different classes of proteinaceous binders typically used. In addition, some unknown paint layer samples have been analyzed demonstrating that the method is applicable to very small sample amounts (0.6 mg), which are compatible with the amount normally available for this kind of analysis. The results obtained demonstrate the effectiveness of the method, suggesting the potential future use as novel diagnostic tool in the scientific study of artworks.

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