iron gall inkCongratulations to our PhD student Adele Ferretti for her publication entitled "A model iron gall ink: an indepth study of ageing processes involving gallic acid". Iron gall inks have been among the most used writing materials, thus representing an important element of historical and artistic heritage of our society. Conversely, many conservation issues arise from the presence of iron gall inks in manuscripts and drawings, as a conspicuous fading of the text and paper acidification and degradation.

In spite of a wide interest in the topic, to date the effects of ageing and of environmental parameters on iron gall ink’s molecular profile has not yet been fully investigated. In the present work a micro-destructive method based on liquid chromatography techniques (HPLC-DAD and HPLC-ESI-Q-ToF) has been optimized starting from a model gallic acid-based ink. An in-depth study of the behaviour of the ink in time was performed by natural and artificial ageing tests, monitored by colorimetry, showing the autoxidation of gallic acid to ellagic acid in the prepared mock-ups. The effect of relative humidity on ageing processes was also evaluated, allowing us to determine different intermediates depending on the environmental conditions.
The work is available at the following link: