Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Aptamers and hydrodynamic cavitation, an accessible tool for the analysis of organic residuals in archaeological pottery

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.05.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biochemistry and molecular biology   
6.02.00  Humanities  Archaeology   

Code Science Field
1.06  Natural Sciences  Biological sciences 
6.01  Humanities  History and Archaeology 
Hydrodynamic cavitation, aptamers, proteomics, vibrational spectroscopy methods, archaeological proteins, archaeological pottery
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on April 22, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  195  6,371  5,741  29.44 
Scopus  211  6,846  6,192  29.35 
Researchers (10)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  18801  PhD Marko Fonović  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  187 
2.  08523  PhD Jože Grdadolnik  Chemistry  Researcher  2021 - 2024  255 
3.  53856  Maša Kavčič  Art history  Researcher  2023 - 2024  79 
4.  31913  PhD Janez Kosel  Biotechnology  Head  2021 - 2024  93 
5.  35055  Lea Legan  Chemistry  Researcher  2021 - 2024  159 
6.  51147  PhD Andrej Magdič  Archaeology  Researcher  2021 - 2024  58 
7.  34527  PhD Urban Novak  Chemistry  Researcher  2021 - 2024  34 
8.  35834  PhD Klara Retko  Chemistry  Researcher  2022  149 
9.  28079  PhD Polonca Ropret  Chemistry  Researcher  2021 - 2024  287 
10.  28608  PhD Barbara Zupančič  Computer intensive methods and applications  Researcher  2021 - 2024  176 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  2316  Institute for the protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia  Ljubljana  1423215  3,815 
2.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  20,968 
3.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  90,695 
Archaeological pottery are the most numerous objects found during excavations and reflect the culinary practices in the last 10.000 years. They reveal cultural associations of meals that were cooked in them and provide data on human diet in specific socioeconomic contexts. However, comparing the shape of pods does not lead to identification of specific food types and commonly results in wrong designations. Because these items are so prolific and because their ceramic structure is very durable, most of them are stored improperly which results in microbial degradation of organic residuals within their porous structure. Therefore, if in the near future research methodologies will not become more accessible and effective in the analysis of ancient organic residuals, the options to reveal the culinary history of Europe will become ever more limited. The ceramic-bound proteinsous fraction within the organic residuals does not decompose as rapidly as DNA, however it can still hold rich molecular information encoded within the amino acids describing not only the protein type but also its animal origin, directly leading to food type identification. However their current extraction from ceramics, based on ultrasonic cavitation, is not effective and the employed solvents act to alter the ending interpretation of results of the GC-MS analysis. When more accessible immunological methods are used such as the Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) these relay on antibodies which possess numerous disadvantages including high level of cross-reactivity and rapid denaturation. Our new approach will by-pass the obstacles of current methods by combining the protein extraction within an efficient small-scale hydrodynamic cavitation generator with an affordable Enzyme-Linked Aptamer Sorbent Assay (ELASA) which will employ highly specific, stable and reliable aptamers instead of antibodies. This ground-breaking advancement will be independent of any expensive measuring equipment and will give small institutions a chance of conducting reliable identification of organic remains within archaeological pottery. We will apply this approach for the interpretation of culinary practices of the early medieval Slavic inhabitants of the city of Ptuj to test the presumption that certain pottery forms were used for specific food types. Therefore, apart from revealing the culinary history of Slovenia, our research will strengthen scientific basis for sustainable management (United Nations, goal 17, Topic Science, Chapter 35 of Agenda 21 – improved collaboration between natural and social scientists); and will catalyse new cross-disciplinary research of humanities and natural sciences by providing state-of-the-art tools and services (objectives 1 and 3 of the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science, E-RIHS). The proposed advanced characterization techniques can also be used in medicine and diagnostics, in forensics, as well as in food sector quality assurance.
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