Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 399, Issue 9, pp 3271–3283 | Cite as

Vibrational spectroscopy to study degradation of natural dyes. Assessment of oxygen-free cassette for safe exposition of artefacts

  • Monika Koperska
  • Tomasz Łojewski
  • Joanna ŁojewskaEmail author
Original Paper


An important issue connected with conservation chemistry is how to improve the storage and exposure conditions in order to suppress the fading and degradation of dyes and other components of paintings. Although the oxygen-free exposure cassettes are commonly known in museums, there is still lack of information in the literature about the effect of anoxic conditions on the degradation of dyes. This study is an attempt to start a database formation on the dyes degradation. Five commercial dyes (indigo, dragon’s blood, curcumin, madder, carminic acid) were submitted to accelerated ageing by exposure to intensive light in the visible range in both oxygen-free (anoxia) and -rich conditions. Degradation of the samples was investigated by several analytical techniques (attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, reflectance UV–Vis spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and optical microscopy). The conclusions are based on the estimators (derived from the determination of colour differences from Vis spectra and from the changes in FTIR and Raman vibrational bands intensity). According to them, only indigo, dragon’s blood and curcumin show greater stability in anoxic conditions in comparison with oxygen-rich ones while madder, carminic acid undergo greater degradation.


Vibrational spectroscopy X-ray fluorescence Natural dyes Alizarin Madder Indigo Curcumin Dragon blood Degradation Anoxia 



The research within his paper has been funded by Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (193/1/N-COST/2008/0) as a support for COST D42 action and partly by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and EEA Financial Mechanism in Poland (11/03/2009/FWK).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monika Koperska
    • 1
  • Tomasz Łojewski
    • 1
  • Joanna Łojewska
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of ChemistryJagiellonian UniversityCracowPoland

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