Identification of volatile degradation products from Baltic amber by headspace solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry
- 229 Downloads
The aim of this study was to test and develop techniques for the detection and identification of volatile compounds released as degradation products by Baltic amber. During a preliminary investigation, the off-gassing of acidic volatiles was detected through the corrosion of lead coupons. The corrosive compounds released by the material were then identified as formic acid and acetic acid by headspace solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. During an advanced investigation, based on the use of artificial ageing to initiate degradation of model amber samples in different microclimates, the detected formic acid and acetic acid off-gassing appeared to be more intense in a dry environment with normal oxygen concentration. The release of formic and acetic acids by the amber was likely the result of radical reactions which should be investigated in further studies.
KeywordsBaltic amber Headspace Solid-phase microextraction Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry
The author is grateful to Jane Richter (School of Conservation, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts), Yvonne Shashoua and Jens Glastrup (Research, Analysis and Consulting Laboratory of the Department of Conservation, National Museum of Denmark) for invaluable supervision.
The School of Conservation of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and the Research, Analysis and Consulting Laboratory of the Department of Conservation, National Museum of Denmark, are thanked for providing all the materials and experimental equipment used for this research.
The European Union’s Marie Curie Programme is thanked for the financial support which made this study possible.
- 1.Beck CW (1982) Authentication and conservation of amber: conflict of interests. Science and technology in the service of conservation, preprints of the contributions to the IIC Washington congress, 3-9 September, pp 104-107Google Scholar
- 2.Williams RS, Waddington JB, Fenn J (1990) Collect Forum 2(6):65–75Google Scholar
- 3.Zivancevic MP, Stojiljkovic D, Brzakovic M (2006) Archaeol Monogr 18:400–419Google Scholar
- 8.Villanueva-García M, Martínez-Richa A, Robles J (2005) Arkivoc 2005(vi):449-458. http://www.arkat-usa.org/get-file/19173/
- 9.Oddy WA (1973) An unsuspected danger in display. Mus J 73:27–28Google Scholar
- 10.Oddy WA (1975) The corrosion of metals on display. Conservation in archaeology and the applied arts. International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, LondonGoogle Scholar
- 12.Heck G (1999) Berl Beitr Archaeom 16:211–240Google Scholar
- 18.Odegaard N, Carroll S, Zimmt WS (2000) Material characterization tests for objects of art. Archetype Publications, LondonGoogle Scholar
- 25.Martínez-Richa A, Vera-Graziano R, Rivera A, Joseph-Nathan P (1999) Polymer 2(41):743–750Google Scholar