Examination of Commercially Available
Rabbit Skin Glues Using MALDI-TOF MS
Winterthur/ UD Program in Art Conservation
Rabbit skin glue is often indicated as a preferred binder for the preparatory layers in traditional water gilding and as a treatment material in gilded objects conservation and restoration, but previous studies have suggested that references to this material are mostly absent from pre-twentieth-century recipes, treatises, and literature and that some modern preparations sold as ‘rabbit skin glue’ may in fact be generic animal collagen glues. Four commercially-available products sold as ‘rabbit skin glue’ were analyzed by peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF) with matrix-assisted LASER desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) in order to characterize their proteins and suggest a species- or family-specific animal source.
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