Research articles

Alkylresorcinol detection and identification in archaeological pottery using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole/Orbitrap mass spectrometry


Cultivation of cereals (e.g., wheat and barley) is thought to have been a major driver of population growth and sedentism during the spread of the Neolithic in Europe, but their relative economic importance and social significance are debated. Alkylresorcinols (AR) are cereal-specific biomarkers that can help track the role of cereals in past economies. Their low concentrations and high susceptibility to degradation, however, make them difficult to detect in ceramic artefacts using conventional molecular analytical methods. Here, Our PhD student Jonica Doliente describes the development of a more sensitive liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) method to detect these compounds. It’s application will certainly advance our understanding of past farming practices.