The Use of Immunofluorescence Microscopy and Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assayas Complementary Techniques for Protein Identification in Artists' Materials

Arlen Heginbotham, Victoria Millay, Michael Quick
2006 Journal of the American Institute for Conservation  
Antibody-based immunological approaches to identifying protein-based materials offer several advantages over the traditional methods used for analyzing works of art. These techniques are able to distinguish with ease between different protein types (i.e., collagen vs. albumen vs. casein) and also to determine unambiguously the biological source of the protein (i.e., bovine collagen vs. rabbit collagen vs. sheep collagen). The technique of Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) is highly
more » ... tive (detection limits below one nanogram) and is relatively simple and cost-effective. In addition, immunofluorescence microscopy (IFM) offers the possibility of spatially resolving target proteins in embedded cross-sections. This paper presents part one of a case study in which these complementary methods were successfully employed for the identification of egg albumin in the analysis of an important 17th-century French cabinet by André-Charles Boulle in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum. The authors suggest that ELISA and IFM have the potential to become routine analytical tools in conservation science laboratories.
doi:10.1179/019713606806112522 fatcat:44fdobwdx5hyvir3pj2nxeqxjm