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Accueil du site > Production scientifique > Plant gum identification in historic artworks

Plant gum identification in historic artworks

Date de publication: 20 avril 2017

C. Granzotto, J. Arslanoglu, C. Rolando, C. Tokarski
Scientific Reports 7 44538 (2017). DOI

Travail réalisé sur le site de l’Unviersité de Lille.


We describe an integrated and straightforward new analytical protocol that identifies plant gums from various sample sources including cultural heritage. Our approach is based on the identification of saccharidic fingerprints using mass spectrometry following controlled enzymatic hydrolysis. We developed an enzyme cocktail suitable for plant gums of unknown composition. Distinctive MS profiles of gums such as arabic, cherry and locust-bean gums were successfully identified. A wide range of oligosaccharidic combinations of pentose, hexose, deoxyhexose and hexuronic acid were accurately identified in gum arabic whereas cherry and locust bean gums showed respectively PentxHexy and Hexn profiles. Optimized for low sample quantities, the analytical protocol was successfully applied to contemporary and historic samples including ‘Colour Box Charles Roberson & Co’ dating 1870s and drawings from the American painter Arthur Dove (1880–1946). This is the first time that a gum is accurately identified in a cultural heritage sample using structural information. Furthermore, this methodology is applicable to other domains (food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, biomedical).