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J Sep Sci. 2017 Feb;40(4):858-868. doi: 10.1002/jssc.201601018. Epub 2016 Dec 30.

Application of solid-phase microextraction with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry for the early detection of active moulds on historical woollen objects.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Commodity Science, Cracow University of Economics, Cracow, Poland.
Laboratory of Analysis and Non-Destructive Investigation of Heritage Objects, National Museum in Krakow, Cracow, Poland.


The goal of this work was to determine the microbial volatile organic compounds emitted by moulds growing on wool in search of particular volatiles mentioned in the literature as indicators of active mould growth. The keratinolytically active fungi were inoculated on two types of media: (1) samples of wool placed on broths, and (2) on broths containing amino acids that are elements of the structure of keratin. All samples were prepared inside 20 mL vials (closed system). In the first case (1) the broths did not contain any sources of organic carbon, nitrogen, or sulfur, i.e. wool was the only nutrient for the moulds. A third type of sample was historical wool prepared in a Petri dish without a broth and inoculated with a keratinolytically active mould (open system). The microbial volatiles emitted by moulds were sampled with the headspace solid-phase microextraction method. Volatiles extracted on solid-phase microextraction fibers were analyzed in a gas chromatography with mass spectrometry system. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of chromatograms were carried out in search of indicators of metabolic activity. The results showed that there are three groups of volatiles that can be used for the detection of active forms of moulds on woollen objects.


biodeterioration; gas chromatography with mass spectrometry; historical wool; microbial volatile organic compounds; solid-phase microextraction


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