Proteinaceous organic materials used as ancient painting media were investigated by capillary gas chromatography (GC) and capillary gas chromatography - mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Medieval wall paintings made by the tempera technique were considered and their binding media were studied by the characterization of their main chemical components. The basic methodology is based on the determination of amino acids in samples of paint layers after hydrolysis and derivatization and on the comparison with reference proteinaceous materials. Multivariate chemometric techniques were used to facilitate the recognition of the protein source from chromatographic data. To characterize the binders further, a method was developed for the determination of fatty acids, present as minor components, by GC/MS. The use of fused-silica capillary columns coated with selected stationary phases allowed the separation of amino acid and fatty acid derivatives in a single analytical run. © 1995 Springer-Verlag.
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