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Anal Chim Acta. 2007 Jul 16;596(1):46-54. Epub 2007 May 31.

A spectrometric and chromatographic approach to the study of ageing of madder (Rubia tinctorum L.) dyestuff on wool.

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Dipartimento di Chimica, Università di Perugia, Via Elce di Sotto 8, 06123 Perugia, Italy.


In this work, the lightfastness of wool textile samples, dyed with madder and its principal components alizarin and purpurin, was investigated using two complementary experimental techniques: absorption and emission UV-vis spectroscopy and chromatography (HPLC-PDA). Spectroscopic techniques were used to follow the time course of ageing, whereas chromatography was applied to determine relative compositional changes that occurred after exposure of wool dyed samples to natural and artificial ageing. The results from the two techniques integrate well each other and provide complementary and useful indications about the sensitivity of the dyed textiles to ageing, showing that purpurin is the principal component responsible for the spectral and chromatic properties of madder as well as for its degradation. The fading of both the fibre and dye is reduced in the presence of alum and in the absence of oxygen. The multi-analytical approach used highlights the potential of the UV-vis spectroscopy for the investigation of dyes on textiles. The great sensitivity of the spectrofluorimetry makes this technique particularly promising for a non-destructive study of dyes on works of art.


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