Analytical strategies for discriminating archaeological fatty substances from animal origin

Abstract : Mass spectrometry (MS) is an essential tool in the field of biomolecular archeology to characterize amorphous organic residues preserved in ancient ceramic vessels. Animal fats of various nature and origin, namely subcutaneous fats of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, and also of dairy products, are those most commonly identified in organic residues in archeological pottery. Fats and oils of marine origin have also been revealed. Since the first applications of MS coupled with gas chromatography (GC) in archeology at the end of 1980s, several developments have occurred, including isotopic determinations by GC coupled to isotope ratio MS and identification of triacylglycerols (TAGs) structure by soft ionization techniques (ESI and APCI). The combination of these methods provides invaluable insights into the strategies of exploitation of animal products in prehistory. In this review, I focus on the analytical strategies based upon MS that allow elucidation of the structure of biomolecular constituents and determination of their isotopic values to identify the nature of animal fat components preserved in highly complex and degraded archeological matrices. #
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Martine Regert. Analytical strategies for discriminating archaeological fatty substances from animal origin. Mass Spectrometry Reviews, Wiley, 2011, 30 (2), pp.177-220. ⟨halshs-00469900⟩

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