imageI think we now have a clue of what we will hear from Denis Mannix next month at the BSTS meeting (October 21st 2012 at 14:00 – 18:00 in Beaconsfield, Bucks). Check out A proposed study into the Maillard reaction as a possible explanation of the image on the Turin Shroud on David Rolfe’s site:

To test the theory we need . . .

a) a dummy corpse with a skin-like surface with distinguishing features eg wounds/cuts. This surface must be able to be maintained at a temperature higher than the surrounding air space. This is the most difficult thing to arrange. It may be that an inflated filled plastic glove with a length of electrically-heated metal inside it and a temperature indicating strip on the surface would serve. Some ingenuity will be needed here. A further improvement would be if the material of the dummy was able to act as a reservoir for the amines that will be applied to it, eg some sort of felt (see below)

b) a piece of linen test cloth similar in porosity to the Shroud. This must be given a coating of a reducing sugar, eg glucose, by soaking in a glucose solution and being allowed to dry in air. Trial may show that a subsequent soaking in a surface-active agent, again with drying in air gives a more intense image

c) a supply of amines such as those arising from a traumatised body eg. cadaverine or putrescine . These are available from Chemicals Suppliers.

d) a draught-tight transparent container in which the test cloth can be held in a roughly horizontal stretched position vertically above the dummy with a fixed separation-distance ranging from 1 to 2 inches down to physical contact.

Laboratory skills are important in this study. The experimental work should be done with the aid of an experienced laboratory technician. It will consist of several/many trial runs to discover the test conditions that will result in an image on the cloth similar to the dummy.

I’m not sure it is that simple. If you haven’t read There should be some kind of reaction at the upcoming BSTS meeting, you should. If you don’t remember it, reread it. Be sure to read the comments by Yannick and anoxie.