Irrespective, wearing my referee’s hat, the one I was called upon to wear a few score times, and all done absolutely free of charge (referees are not paid for their services), here’s the kind of report I might have filed on that paper which appeared in "Melanoidins" that began with quoting Pliny and 2000 year old linen techniques:
1. So Pliny described how linen was manufactured, using starch and Saponaria as processing aids. What good evidence is there that the Shroud has starch and Saponaria? For starch, all I see in this paper is a red colour with iodine/azide used to test for something completely different (sulphur proteins). Why did you not use the standard iodine reagent without the azide? And why is there no evidence that the cloth has been treated with Saponaria? What is the evidence that it dates back to the Pliny era – scientific evidence that is?
2. Why the need for starch anyway in this Maillard reaction. Starch is not a reducing sugar unless broken down to glucose, maltose etc? Ah, I see you have switched from using starch in your model study to “dextrins” i.e. partly broken down starch”? Is that a way to get reducing sugar into the Shroud under the cloak of starch? If so, that is not terribly scientific, is it, or even transparent? scientific. And why the need for “Saponaria” in your model. Is it because the Saponaria has pentosan sugars, some of which might just tbe able to break free from the rest of the polymer, and may then provide more of that "reducing sugar" that is needed in your model. Or iare you saying that the combination of starch and a natural soap helps to release those reducing sugars? Sorry, but since your model depends crucially on having some reducing sugars you must be chemically precise if you want it to have any relevance to the Shroud.
3. Now about the other component you need for your Maillard reaction – organic amines. What evidence is there that the image areas of the Shroud have more nitrogen than non-image areas? None? I see. And I see you use ammonia as the source of amine in your model studies. Ammonia is much lighter and more rapidly diffusible than a much bigger molecule like cadaverine, putrescine etc.
So we have some model studies based on ingredients that we cannot be sure are on the Shroud, except perhaps some “starch” (which is not a reducing sugar) and we are asked to believe that the coming together of putrefaction amines – with no evidence they would ever be released in quantity from a recently deceased individual – with starch/hypothetical Saponaria (now conveniently transformed to reducing sugar) can produce all the image characteristics of the Shroud, right down to hair, moustache, beard etc, despite those being stable keratinaceous protein that would never release putrefaction amines.
4. Sorry, but this journal is Melanoidins. Your paper makes no contribution to melanoidin chemistry. You have simply hypothesised that the Shroud image is the product of a Maillard reaction which then polymerises to a melanoidin, without providing any direct evidence, and your model studies use ingredients that are largely hypothetical as far as a particular piece of fabric in Turin is concerned.
5. If you can provide evidence that there is a melanoidin on the Shroud, with extra nitrogen in the image areas, with evidence for diamines as the precursors, with information of which specific reducing sugar(s) is involved, whether hexose or pentose etc, and better still some evidence for unreacted precursor molecules in the non-image areas then it may be possible for me to to recommend your paper for publication.