Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Optimisation and development of size exclusion chromatography for analysis of modern and historic silk textiles

The use of size exclusion chromatography for the analysis of historic silk textiles was pioneered at HRP in the 1990s. The existing methodology suffered from co-elution of the silk and solvent (lithium thiocyanate) peaks, particularly at the low molecular weight region of silk. This was of concern, because the low molecular weight region is of importance in the study of intensely degraded silk, such as that found in historic tapestries of the Renaissance. The rationale for the use of the existing detection wavelength was verified, so a study into the possibility of altering the sample dissolution characteristics was undertaken. From a literature search of dissolution of fresh Bombyx silk, alternative solvents (based on alcoholic calcium salts solutions) were trialled. None of these could match the existing properties of lithium thiocyanate for complete dissolution at room temperature without associative polymer damage. An alteration to the eluent system was tried - the use of a highly concentrated urea solution caused denaturation of the silk protein, which increased the hydrodynamic volume for the sample in solution. The solvent was unaffected, providing the means for successful peak resolution. The existing technique was significantly improved, permitting increased sensitivity and thus the use of smaller sample sizes.

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Historic Royal Palaces
Apt. 37, Hampton Court Palace
KT8 9AU Surrey
United Kingdom
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