Strlič, M.; Kralj Cigić, I.; Rabin, I.; Kolar, J.; Pihlar, B.; Cassar, M.; “Autoxidation of lipids in parchment”, Polymer Degradation Stability 94 (6) (2009) 886-890
Historic parchment is a macromolecular material, which is complex due to its natural origin, inhomogeneity of the skin structure, unknown environmental history and potential localised degradation. Most research into its stability has so far focussed on thermal and structural methods of analyses. Using gas chromatographic analysis of the atmosphere surrounding parchment during oxidation, we provide the experimental evidence on the production of volatile aldehydes, which can be the products of lipid autoxidation. Oxidation of parchment with different aldehyde emissions was additionally followed in situ using chemiluminometry and the same techniques were used to evaluate the oxidation of differently delipidised parchment. It was shown that the production of peroxides and the emission of aldehydes from the material decrease with lower lipid content. Building on this evidence, we can conclude that the presence of lipids (either initially present in the skin or resulting from conservation intervention) leads to oxidative degradation of collagen and that the non-destructive analysis of the emission of volatiles could be used as a quick tool for evaluation of parchment stability.