Cholesterol degradation in archaeological pottery mediated by fired clay and fatty acid pro-oxidants

Simon Hammann, Lucy Cramp, Mathilda Whittle, Richard Evershed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
123 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Cholesterol is generally absent in animal fat residues preserved in archaeological ceramic vessels. It is known from edible oil refining that during bleaching with activated clay sterols are degraded, largely via oxidation. Laboratory heating experiments using fired clay from replica pottery vessels promoted rapid degradation of cholesterol via oxidation. Furthermore, heating cholesterol with fatty acids (saturated and unsaturated) revealed additional degradation to occur independently of the ceramic matrix. As both conditions are met in archaeological pottery during animal (and plant) product processing involving heating, the very rare detection of sterols in organic residues can be explained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 4401-4404
Number of pages4
JournalTetrahedron Letters
Volume59
Issue number50
Early online date31 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2018

Keywords

  • cholesterol;
  • fatty acids
  • archaeology
  • degradation
  • clay
  • organic residue

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