Evidence of a distinct lipid fraction in historical parchments: a potential role in degradation?

Cristina Ghioni, Jennifer C Hiller, Craig J Kennedy, A E Aliev, Marianne Odlyha, Timothy J Wess

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    25 Citations (Scopus)


    Parchment, a biologically based material obtained
    from the processed hides of animals such as cattle and sheep,
    has been used for millennia as a writing medium. Although
    numerous studies have concentrated on the structure and
    degradation of collagen within parchment, little attention has
    been paid to noncollagenous components, such as lipids. In
    this study, we present the results of biochemical and structural
    analyses of historical and newly manufactured parchment to
    examine the potential role that lipid plays in parchment stability.
    The lipid fraction extracted from the parchments displayed
    different fatty acid compositions between historical
    and reference materials. Gas chromatography, small-angle
    X-ray scattering, and solid-state NMR were used to identify
    and investigate the lipid fraction from parchment samples
    and to study its contribution to collagen structure and degradation.
    We hypothesize that the origin of this lipid fraction
    is either intrinsic, attributable to incomplete fat removal
    in the manufacturing process, or extrinsic, attributable to microbiological
    attack on the proteinaceous component of parchments.
    Furthermore, we consider that the possible formation
    of protein-lipid complexes in parchment over the course
    of oxidative degradation may be mediated by reactive oxygen
    species formed by lipid peroxidation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2726–2734
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Lipid Research
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


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