Amino Acids

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 169–181 | Cite as

Detection of COL III in parchment by amino acid analysis

  • Dorte V. P. Sommer
  • René Larsen
Original Article


Cultural heritage parchments made from the reticular dermis of animals have been subject to studies of deterioration and conservation by amino acid analysis. The reticular dermis contains a varying mixture of collagen I and III (COL I and III). When dealing with the results of the amino acid analyses, till now the COL III content has not been taken into account. Based on the available amino acid sequences, we present a method for determining the amount of COL III in the reticular dermis of new and historical parchments calculated from the ratio of Ile/Val. We find COL III contents between 7 and 32 % in new parchments and between 0.2 and 40 % in the historical parchments. This is consistent with results in the literature. The varying content of COL III has a significant influence on the uncertainty of the amino acid analysis. Although we have not found a simple correlation between the COL III content and the degree of deterioration, our results show that this question must be taken into consideration in future studies of the chemical and physical deterioration of parchment measured by amino acid analysis and other analytical methods.


Amino acid analysis Collagen I Collagen III Cultural heritage Oxidation Parchment 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ConservationRoyal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and ConservationCopenhagen KDenmark

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