The present review article reports the most innovative methods to detect proteins in historical and archeological samples as well as to characterize proteins used as binders in artworks. Difficulties to ascribe proteins to a certain animal species are often due to post-translational modifications originated by chemical or microbial deterioration during aging. Combining different techniques such as peptide mass fingerprinting and tandem mass spectrometry can solve some of these problems and also allow discrimination between taxonomically related species like sheep and goat. The most studied proteins in bones and textile samples are osteocalcin, collagen and keratin, whereas egg yolk and white proteins, casein and collagen are the most relevant for binders used in old paintings. With the suitable approaches (immune-based methods, DOT-blot, etc…) it is also possible to obtain in situ characterization or analyze the samples directly in the museum laboratories, with the advantage of avoiding artwork damage and expensive external commitments. Recent cutting-edge strategies allowed detection of proteinaceous infection markers that, for instance, were used to establish the cause of death of old Inca mummies and also proved the presence of Yersinia pestis in old documents dating from the period in 17th century in which the plague ravaged Europe.

Back to the past: deciphering cultural heritage secrets by protein identification

Mazzoli, Roberto;Pessione, Enrica
Last
2018

Abstract

The present review article reports the most innovative methods to detect proteins in historical and archeological samples as well as to characterize proteins used as binders in artworks. Difficulties to ascribe proteins to a certain animal species are often due to post-translational modifications originated by chemical or microbial deterioration during aging. Combining different techniques such as peptide mass fingerprinting and tandem mass spectrometry can solve some of these problems and also allow discrimination between taxonomically related species like sheep and goat. The most studied proteins in bones and textile samples are osteocalcin, collagen and keratin, whereas egg yolk and white proteins, casein and collagen are the most relevant for binders used in old paintings. With the suitable approaches (immune-based methods, DOT-blot, etc…) it is also possible to obtain in situ characterization or analyze the samples directly in the museum laboratories, with the advantage of avoiding artwork damage and expensive external commitments. Recent cutting-edge strategies allowed detection of proteinaceous infection markers that, for instance, were used to establish the cause of death of old Inca mummies and also proved the presence of Yersinia pestis in old documents dating from the period in 17th century in which the plague ravaged Europe.
102
13
5445
5455
link.springer.de/link/service/journals/00253/index.htm
Archeology; Egg yolk; Infections; Keratin; Mass spectrometry; Textiles; Wall paintings; Biotechnology; Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Giuffrida, Maria Gabriella; Mazzoli, Roberto; Pessione, Enrica*
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1670455
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