Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 397, Issue 1, pp 369–380 | Cite as

Volatile organic compounds in paper—an approach for identification of markers in aged books

  • Elvira M. Gaspar
  • José C. Santana
  • João F. Lopes
  • Marcos B. Diniz
Original Paper


Volatile organic compounds emitted from historical books made from cotton/linen rag and wood pulp paper have been studied. Different profiles were obtained using different solid-phase microextraction (SPME) fibres to access the compounds involved in the decomposition reactions occurring in cotton/linen rag and wood pulp paper upon natural ageing and precocious/accelerated degradation. Contact headspace solid-phase extraction coupled with gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOF-MS) was improved as a non-destructive methodology for the analysis of historical books. Potential markers of cellulose degradation—linear hydrocarbons, linear aldehydes, and 2-furfural—together with potential markers of cotton/linen rag paper (isopropylic esters) were identified. Chiral analysis (SPME-c-GC-TOF-MS) showed that only the enantiomer (S)-2-ethyl-1-hexanol is present as an emanation compound in both types of paper. Validation studies for a larger number of books are being done.

Figures 1–3

Portuguese old books made from cotton/linen rag paper.


Paper Wood pulp paper Cotton/linen rag Cellulose Wood pulp VOC Paper ageing 



The authors express their gratitude to Prof. H. Chaves das Neves for interest, help and criticism given to this work. EG expresses a deep gratitude to her friend Eng. Luiz de Aguiar Câmara for the unconditional willingness of giving some of his valuable historical books for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elvira M. Gaspar
    • 1
  • José C. Santana
    • 1
  • João F. Lopes
    • 1
  • Marcos B. Diniz
    • 1
  1. 1.CQFB-Requimte, Departamento de Química, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, FCTUniversidade Nova de LisboaCaparicaPortugal

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