Assessment of green cleaning effectiveness on polychrome surfaces by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and microscopic imaging

Stepanka Hrdlickova Kuckova, Michaela Crhova Krizkova, Catarina Cortes Pereira, Radovan Hynek, Olga Lavrova, Tito Busani, Luis Cobra Branco, Irina Crina Anca Sandu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)


This article proposes an innovative methodology which employs nondestructive techniques to assess the effectiveness of new formulations based on ionic liquids, as alternative solvents for enzymes (proteases), for the removal of proteinaceous materials from painted surfaces during restoration treatments. Ionic liquids (ILs), also known as "designer" solvents, because of their peculiar properties which can be adjusted by selecting different cation-anion combinations, are potentially green solvents due totheir low vapour pressure. In this study, two ionic liquids were selected: IL1 (1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate ([BMIM][BF 4])) and IL2 (1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium ethylsulphate ([EMIM][EtSO 4])). New formulations were prepared with these ILs and two different proteases (E): one acid (E1-pepsin) and one alkaline (E2-obtained from Aspergillus sojae). These formulations were tested on tempera and oil mock-up samples, prepared in accordance with historically documented recipes, and covered with two different types of protein-based varnishes (egg white and isinglass-fish glue). A noninvasive multiscale imaging methodology was applied before and after the treatment to evaluate the cleaning's effectiveness. Different microscopic techniques-optical microscopy (OM) with visible and fluorescent light, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM)-together with Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) were applied on areas cleaned with the new formulations (IL+E) and reference areas cleaned only with the commercial enzyme formulations (gels). MALDI-TOF proved particularly very useful for comparing the diversity and abundance of peptides released by using different enzymatic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-585
Number of pages12
JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cleaning treatment
  • Enzyme
  • Ionic liquid
  • Multi-scale methodology
  • Proteinaceous varnish


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of green cleaning effectiveness on polychrome surfaces by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and microscopic imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this