Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 402, Issue 9, pp 3011–3016 | Cite as

Polar and non-polar organic binder characterization in Pompeian wall paintings: comparison to a simulated painting mimicking an “a secco” technique

  • Gaetano Corso
  • Monica Gelzo
  • Carmen Sanges
  • Angela Chambery
  • Antimo Di Maro
  • Valeria Severino
  • Antonio Dello Russo
  • Ciro Piccioli
  • Paolo ArcariEmail author
Technical Note


The use of Fourier transform infrared spectromicroscopy and mass spectrometry (MS) allowed us to characterize the composition of polar and non-polar binders present in sporadic wall paint fragments taken from Pompeii’s archaeological excavation. The analyses of the polar and non-polar binder components extracted from paint powder layer showed the presence of amino acids, sugars, and fatty acids but the absence of proteinaceous material. These results are consistent with a water tempera painting mixture composed of pigments, flours, gums, and oils and are in agreement with those obtained from a simulated wall paint sample made for mimicking an ancient “a secco” technique. Notably, for the first time, we report the capability to discriminate by tandem MS the presence of free amino acids in the paint layer.


Pompeii’s wall painting Cultural heritage GC-MS LC-ESI/MS/MS FT-IR spectromicroscopy 



We acknowledge Drs. Daniela Garofalo and Oceania D’Apolito (Università di Foggia) for technical support on tandem mass spectrometry. This study was supported by PA personal funds.

Supplementary material

216_2012_5746_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (805 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1992 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaetano Corso
    • 1
    • 2
  • Monica Gelzo
    • 1
  • Carmen Sanges
    • 1
  • Angela Chambery
    • 3
  • Antimo Di Maro
    • 3
  • Valeria Severino
    • 3
  • Antonio Dello Russo
    • 1
  • Ciro Piccioli
    • 4
  • Paolo Arcari
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biotecnologie MedicheUniversità di Napoli Federico IINapoliItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze BiomedicheUniversità di FoggiaFoggiaItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Scienze per la VitaSeconda Università di NapoliCasertaItaly
  4. 4.Accademia di Belle Arti di NapoliNapoliItaly
  5. 5.CEINGE-Biotecnologie Avanzate s.c.a.r.lNapoliItaly

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