Mass Spectrometric Proteome Analysis of Written Artefacts
The analysis of the proteome provides information about the unchangeable biological identity of the written artefact as well as about external influences, which can be of natural or anthropogenic origin. In this way, knowledge can be gained about the origin or history of the underlying plant or animal material. Thus, proteome analysis is complementary to DNA analysis, as the latter can provide information about the genetical background, but cannot indicate external influences. Furthermore, metaproteome analysis, that is, the simultaneous detection of the proteomes of pathogenic or apathogenic microorganisms on the surface of artefacts, can provide additional information about the prehistory or the epoch in which the artefact was created. This includes, for example, the occurrence of bacterial infectious diseases or possibly also information about food residues on the surface of the objects (Figure 1).
For proteome analyses, high-resolution mass spectrometers are used in particular. Special attention must be paid to adequate sample preparation in order to treat the valuable writings as non-destructively as possible. To achieve the highest possible information content, suitable analytical methods are also required. The evaluation of the data requires suitable bioinformatics applications as well as appropriate interpretation, which can be guaranteed by the cooperation within the Cluster. The aim of this project is to identify writing surfaces in order to obtain additional information about author and/or readers.