Topics in Current Chemistry

, 374:5 | Cite as

Immunochemical Methods Applied to Art-Historical Materials: Identification and Localization of Proteins by ELISA and IFM

  • Laura Cartechini
  • Melissa Palmieri
  • Manuela Vagnini
  • Lucia Pitzurra
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Analytical Chemistry for Cultural Heritage


Despite the large diffusion of natural organic substances in art-historical materials, their characterization presents many challenges due to the chemical complexity and instability with respect to degradation processes. Among natural products, proteins have been largely used in the past as binders but also as adhesives or additives in coating layers. Nevertheless, biological identification of proteins in art-historical objects is one of the most recent achievements obtained in heritage science thanks to the development of specifically tailored bio-analytical strategies. In the context of this active emerging discipline, immunological methods stand out for sensitivity, specificity and versatility for both protein recognition and localization in micro-samples. Furthermore, the growing use of immunological techniques for advanced diagnostics and clinical applications ensures continuous improvement in their analytical performance. Considering such, this review provides an overview of the most recent applications of enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and immunofluorescence microscopy techniques in the field of heritage materials. Specifically, the main strengths and potentials of the two techniques as well as their limits and drawbacks are presented and discussed herein.


ELISA IFM Proteinaceous binders Heritage materials Imaging Painting cross-section 



The authors acknowledge for funding support the CHARISMA project (GA228330)—funded by the European Union FP7-Research Infrastructure programme—and the project “Sviluppo delle attività di ricerca, valutazione e tutela conservative” of the Regione Umbria—“Progetto 1 del Primo atto integrativo all’APQ: Tutela e prevenzione dei beni culturali”.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Cartechini
    • 1
  • Melissa Palmieri
    • 2
    • 4
  • Manuela Vagnini
    • 3
  • Lucia Pitzurra
    • 4
  1. 1.Isitituto di Scienze e Tecnologie Molecolari, ISTM-CNR PerugiaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Chimica, Biologia e BiotecnologieUniversità degli Studi di Perugia PerugiaItaly
  3. 3.Laboratorio di Diagnostica per i Beni Culturali di Spoleto SpoletoItaly
  4. 4.Dipartimento di Medicina SperimentaleUniversità degli Studi di Perugia PerugiaItaly

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