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J Proteomics. 2014 Jun 13;105:363-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2013.11.016. Epub 2013 Nov 26.

Proteomics identifies the composition and manufacturing recipe of the 2500-year old sourdough bread from Subeixi cemetery in China.

Author information

1
MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, 01307 Dresden, Germany.
2
Department of Archaeometry, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, PR China; Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, PR China.
3
Department of Archaeometry, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, PR China.
4
Xinjiang Cultural Relics and Archaeology Institute, Ürümchi 830000, PR China.
5
Department of Archaeometry, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, PR China. Electronic address: cswang@ucas.ac.cn.
6
MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, 01307 Dresden, Germany. Electronic address: shevchenko@mpi-cbg.de.

Abstract

We report on the geLC-MS/MS proteomics analysis of cereals and cereal food excavated in Subeixi cemetery (500-300BC) in Xinjiang, China. Proteomics provided direct evidence that at the Subexi sourdough bread was made from barley and broomcorn millet by leavening with a renewable starter comprising baker's yeast and lactic acid bacteria. The baking recipe and flour composition indicated that barley and millet bread belonged to the staple food already in the first millennium BC and suggested the role of Turpan basin as a major route for cultural communication between Western and Eastern Eurasia in antiquity. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Proteomics of non-model organisms.

BIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE:

We demonstrate that organic residues of thousand year old foods unearthed by archeological excavations can be analyzed by geLC-MS/MS proteomics with good representation of protein source organisms and coverage of sequences of identified proteins. In-depth look into the foods proteome identifies the food type and its individual ingredients, reveals ancient food processing technologies, projects their social and economic impact and provides evidence of intercultural communication between ancient populations. Proteomics analysis of ancient organic residues is direct, quantitative and informative and therefore has the potential to develop into a valuable, generally applicable tool in archaeometry. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Proteomics of non-model organisms.

KEYWORDS:

Ancient foods; Ancient organic residues; Archeometry; Cereals; Fermentation; geLC–MS/MS

PMID:
24291353
DOI:
10.1016/j.jprot.2013.11.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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