Plant gums are present in works of art as binding media for watercolours and adhesives for cellulosic substrates. Thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation (THM) in combination with analytical pyrolysis coupled to GC/MS has been applied to the characterisation of plant gums typically used in artworks. THM products from standard samples of arabic gum, tragacanth gum and cherry gum were characterised. The main products identified are permethylated and partially methylated aldonic acids, characteristic of specific epimeric sugars. Aldonic acids were formed by alkaline hydrolysis of free reducing sugars and of reducing polysaccharide terminal groups, while methylation occurs during pyrolysis. The presence of these characteristic markers allows gum identification. A systematic analysis of all the parameters that can affect the marker yields was performed. In particular, the influence of pyrolysis temperature, reagent concentration and contact time between tetramethylammonium hydroxide and sample were studied, and different kinds of sample preparation procedures were tested. Some analyses on real watercolours were performed, and gum binders were classified using the peak area ratio of the main monosaccharide markers.

Advances in identification of plant gums in cultural heritage by thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation

RIEDO, CHIARA;SCALARONE, Dominique Maria;CHIANTORE, Oscar
2010

Abstract

Plant gums are present in works of art as binding media for watercolours and adhesives for cellulosic substrates. Thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation (THM) in combination with analytical pyrolysis coupled to GC/MS has been applied to the characterisation of plant gums typically used in artworks. THM products from standard samples of arabic gum, tragacanth gum and cherry gum were characterised. The main products identified are permethylated and partially methylated aldonic acids, characteristic of specific epimeric sugars. Aldonic acids were formed by alkaline hydrolysis of free reducing sugars and of reducing polysaccharide terminal groups, while methylation occurs during pyrolysis. The presence of these characteristic markers allows gum identification. A systematic analysis of all the parameters that can affect the marker yields was performed. In particular, the influence of pyrolysis temperature, reagent concentration and contact time between tetramethylammonium hydroxide and sample were studied, and different kinds of sample preparation procedures were tested. Some analyses on real watercolours were performed, and gum binders were classified using the peak area ratio of the main monosaccharide markers.
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Plant gum Pyrolysis; Themally assisted hydrolysis and methylation; Cultural heritage; Watercolours
Chiara Riedo; Dominique Scalarone; Oscar Chiantore
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/99649
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