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    STUDIA BIOLOGIA - Issue no. 1 / 2019  
         
  Article:   PURPLE SPOTS ON ANCIENT PARCHMENTS VS RED HEATS ON PRESENT-DAY LEATHERS: THE UNVEILED SECRET OF THE SALT-CURED HIDES.

Authors:  NICOLETTA PERINI, FULVIO MERCURI, SILVIA ORLANDUCCI, MARIA CRISTINA THALLER, ALESSANDRO RUBECHINI, DOMENICO CASTIELLO, VALERIO TALARICO, LUCIANA MIGLIORE.
 
       
         
  Abstract:  Leather products, used in many ways over centuries, can easily undergo biodeterioration. Modern hides are often damaged by red patches, known as red heats; historical parchments show similar signs of biodeterioration, the purple spots. A two-phases ecological succession explained the parchment biodeterioration process, identifying Halobacterium salinarum as the main culprit of purple spots, entering together with salt into the hide during the brining, in the first phase; whilst, the second phase changes with the history of each parchment (Migliore et al., 2017, 2019). To evaluate if similar biodeterioration dynamics can be identified in both leather and parchment, a multidisciplinary study was performed on present-day leathers. This approach consisted of standard cultivation methods and molecular, chemical and physical updated technologies, as Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), Raman spectroscopy and Transmitted Light Analysis (LTA). As a whole, (i) NGS demonstrated that leathers share the same triggering halophilic agents responsible for the parchment damage; (ii) Raman analyses detected bacteriorhodopsin in red patches; (iii) LTA showed that chrome tanning, conversely to parchment procedure, chemically stabilizes even the damaged areas, making leather products persistent.

Keywords: brine cured hides, H. salinarum, purple spots, red heat deterioration
 
         
     
         
         
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