Speaking of the the Mannix proposal to test the Maillard Reaction

imageBy way of a comment Yannick Clement writes:

We can speculate ad noseam on the question of whether Rogers hypothesis for image formation can be totally right, partially right or totally wrong… The real question is not this one. No. The real question is the question of what is the chromophore of the image. I have already written about that often on this blog and I truly think that’s the main aspect science must determine BEFORE proposing any image formation process. That’s exactly what was the method used by Rogers : First, he took EVERY solid data, observations and facts regarding the Shroud and came up with a good hypothesis regarding the chromophore of the image. And it’s only after he was convinced that a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities was the real chromophore of the image that he start looking for a natural mechanism that could account for it.

Since the day he proposed his hypothesis, some members of the SSG (Fanti, Di Lazzaro et al.) have proposed another hypothesis for the chromophore of the image (the primary cell wall of the linen fiber) and right now, because new direct testing could be performed on the cloth itself, this question of the chromophore cannot be settled definitively. It’s only once science will be sure of the chromophore that we will have a better idea of at least the probable nature (chemical, energetic, etc.) of the body image and that we will be able to better judge any hypothesis of image formation that have been proposed over the years.

As I said many times here, if Rogers hypothesis is correct regarding the chromophore, any image formation hypothesis that involved any kind of energetic radiation would have to be considered highly unlikely while it would be a very strong argument in favor of a natural occurring image. But we’re not there yet, even though the hypothesis of Rogers concerning the chromophore SHOULD be considered in the moment as the most probable that exists because of many particular data like the pectine and the starch deposits that were find on the fibers, the presence of a banding effects on the Shroud indicating a possible uneven presence of impurities on each threads (with some threads that might even have almost no impurities on them), the ghosts of color (and also the diimide reagent) leaving a clean and undamaged fiber behind, etc. Also, and this is VERY IMPORTANT, there’s one more aspect that strongly favored Rogers hypothesis over the primary cell wall hypothesis of Fanti et al.: it is the fact that the image is very superficial and that this superficiality is the same no matter if the body was in direct contact with the cloth or if it was at a short distance of it (less than 4 cm). Effectively, Rogers hypothesis concerning the thin layer of impurities offered a very good rational and scientific explanation for this very strange particularity of the image while the hypothesis of Fanti CANNOT. Note that it is also true concerning the possible superficial image of the hair on the reverse side of the cloth. This is, for me, the most important argument in favor of Rogers hypothesis over the other ones that proposed a coloration of the linen fiber itself and I think this has been truly neglected in the recent past (the best example of this truth is the first draft of the fact list of Rolfe that was signed by almost everyone present at the conference of Valencia). Sorry but linen fibers (and the primary cell wall too) are scattered everywhere inside the cloth (not restricted to the surface) while the impurities that Rogers propose are only concentrated in a thin layer on the top surface of the cloth (on both sides), which is totally consistent with the superficiality of the image on the Shroud and totally consistent too with the fact that the image possess the same exact superficiality no matter if the body was in direct contact with the cloth or if it was located at a short distance of it. The primary cell wall hypothesis CANNOT offered a rational and scientific explanation for this particularity of the Shroud image and so, no matter what kind of image formation process could have been active to produce the image…

That’s the situation right now and anybody who think that the Shroud image is the product of a supernatural kind of event should pray hard that science will never prove that Rogers was right about the chromophore !!! ;-) And I even strongly suspect that this was the real motivation of Fanti when he wrote his paper that proposed another hypothesis (the PCW) than the one of Rogers for the chromophore of the image… Effectively, it’s evident for me that he is fully aware of the fact that his corona discharge hypothesis would have to be set aside if Rogers hypothesis concerning the impurities is right. So, to conclude, I would say that the sindonologists interested by the question of the image on the Shroud SHOULD really focus their attention on the question of the chromophore before even thinking of a possible explanation for this image.

Then as a follow up he writes:

I would add one more little comment to complete my previous long comment. I just want to say that beside focussing on the question of the chromophore of the image in order to have a better idea of the nature of the process that has been active inside the Shroud to formed the image, I also think Shroud scientist should try hard to confirmed the conclusion of Fanti concerning the possible presence of another superficial image of the hair (and maybe some other body parts like the beard and mustache) in the reverse side of the cloth because if it would be scientifically confirmed, this would also be another very important piece of evidence in favor of a chemical process for image formation (that could very well include totally or partially the Maillard reaction proposed by Rogers) and, at the same time, it would be another very important argument AGAINST any form of image formation hypothesis involving an energetic radiation. Effectively, here’s what Rogers specifically said about that in his book: “Heat and radiation of sufficient intensity all the way through the thickness of the cloth WOULD NOT BE LIMITED to producing a color on the back of the cloth in the area of the hair.” He also wrote: “We would expect to see a color in the center of the cloth. We do not.”

So I am completely convinced that this is one very important aspect of the Shroud (the possible presence of a superficial image on the backside of the cloth) that should be analyzed more deeply by Shroud scientist well before they proposed any other hypothesis for image formation. Getting access to the very high quality photographs of the reverse side of the Shroud that were done in 2000 and 2002 would be a very good step for this kind of research but I’m convinced that only a direct chemical and microscopic examination of a sample taken from this area will be enough to really settle this debate concerning the possible presence of a superficial image on the backside of the Shroud. So, along with the question of the chromophore of the image, I think scientist MUST focus their attention on this question of the possible superficial image on the backside. Getting finally a definitive and scientific answer to these 2 questions would greatly improve our understanding of the real nature of the image-formation process and would help to eliminate many image-formation hypothesis, because, as Rogers wrote in his book: “…the appearance of some specific parts of the image on the back of the cloth can contribute critical information toward the understanding of the image-formation mechanism.”

9 thoughts on “Speaking of the the Mannix proposal to test the Maillard Reaction”

  1. Archaeologically speaking, the TRUE fact is, there are not that many solutions left…It is either naturalistic or ritualistic.

  2. I truly think that some interesting and important researches could be done right now concerning the question of the chromophore. Note that this is not the case for the question of the possible superficial image on the reverse side of the cloth because, for the moment, scientists don’t have access to the images that were taken in 2000 and in 2002 and they don’t have direct access to the cloth too. But for the chromophore, there are some researches that could be done WITHOUT having to get access to the Shroud or to these images. For example, one very interesting research could go like this: It would be interesting to get in touch with a real expert in ancient textile and ask him (or her) to manufactured some linen cloths made with the known ancient methods that were used in antiquity (I say methods with a “s” because I’m convinced that there were many different methods that were used during that era). Then, these different linen samples should be given to a good chemist so he could analyze them in deep and see if some of them could confirm Rogers hypothesis versus the image chromophore. If some of the samples would effectively confirmed his hypothesis regarding the thin layer of carbohydrates impurtities, it would be interesting to note the exact chemical composition of these impurities and where exactly they would be scattered through the cloth (would they be 100% concentrated to the top surface of the cloth or just partially concentrated there ?). This particular research avenue is possible and SHOULD BE DONE RIGHT NOW !!! I’m sure it would contribute greatly to our understanding of the probable nature of the Shroud image and it could indicate science where to search exactly in order to find a definitive answer for this “mystery”.

  3. Another interesting avenue of research concerning the chromophore of the image on the Shroud would be to find some archaeological pieces of antique linen cloths (by getting in touch with some museums and/or some archaeologists) and made these samples analyzed by a chemist to see what kind of impurities could be detected (if there’s any) and where exactly did we find them (on the top surface only or elsewhere in the cloth) and then compare these data with the Shroud and Rogers hypothesis.

  4. No entiendo.

    ¿Cree que una radiación, por ejemplo la UV, NO ACTUARÍA sobre la “capa de impurezas” propuesta por Rogers produciendo cromóforos?

    Garlaschelli obtiene los cromóforos mediante el ácido sulfúrico….¿o no son cromóforos?

    Carlos Otal

    1. Carlos, I’ll leave your comment about Garlaschelli on the side because we both know that the Shroud is a real burial cloth of a real crucified man and it cannot be the work of an artist.

      But I’ll answer to your first question that is : Do you think radiation, such as UV, not act on the “impurity layer” proposed by Rogers chromophores producing?

      My answer : That’s not what I mean. What I mean is what Rogers was also meaning : If the chromophore of the image is ONLY a thin layer of impurities residing on top of the most superficial fibers of the cloth (as proposed by Rogers) and that there are absolutely no perceptible defects on the linen fibers that bears the image (other than normal aging defects), then that mean the image formation process was VERY MILD (and, as Rogers said, we can also expect that it most probably occured at room temperature).

      If this is really the reality for the image that is on the Shroud, then it would be HIGHLY IMPROBABLE to see any form of energetic radiation (like the UV you mentioned and all the others that have been proposed over the years) being able to colorate ONLY this thin layer of carbohydrates impurities while LEAVING THE FIBER THAT LIES UNDER IT WITHOUT ANY PERCEPTIBLE DEFECT that would have been easily visible for an expert in radiation like Rogers.

      Here’s one of the most important quote from all the writings done by Rogers about the Shroud: “I studied the chemical kinetics of the impurity materials and conclude that it was IMPROBABLE that the impurities had been scorched by heat or any radiation source : the crystal structure of the flax image fibers was NO MORE DEFECTIVE than non-image fibers. It would take very good temperature control specifically to scorch impurities without producing some defects in the cellulose (note that this include the primary cell wall).”

      What Rogers said here is this : IF the chromophore of the image is really only a thin layer of impurities, then we would have to conclude that any image formation hypothesis involving any form of energetic radiation must be regarded as HIGHLY UNLIKELY, while the idea that the image formation process was chemical in nature (whatever what can be this process or these processes) and that it happened at room temperature would greatly gain in credibility. In fact, this would certainly become the most probable scenario for the image formation because it has been proven that there are some chemical reactions (the Maillard reaction being one of them) could colored a layer of carbohydrates impurities that resides at the surface of a cloth while leaving the fiber that lies underneath these impurities completely intact, undammaged and clean (just like what was reported by Adler concerning the ghosts of color and also the appearence of the fiber after the use of diimide).

      Do you understand now the great important of finding once and for all what really is the chromophore of the body image on the Shroud ???

    2. Also Carlos (and anyone else), you must understand the importance of finding a confirmation for the possible presence of an image of the hair, beard and mustache on the reverse side of the cloth. If the assumption of Fanti (so far, that’s what it is) can be confirmed concerning these images on the backside, especially if their nature is the same as the superficial nature of the image on the inner part of the cloth, this would be another very important piece of evidence to think that the image formation process was chemical in nature and that the Maillard reaction could have taken a pretty good part in it. That’s why scientists should focus on these 2 aspects : the possible images on the backside of the cloth and the image chromophore. No doubt in my mind that if we fiind a definitive answer to those questions, this would open a brand new era for Shroud study.

      I would like also to emphasize one aspect of the quote from Rogers I gave you yesterday. When he said “the crystal structure of the flax image fibers was NO MORE DEFECTIVE than non-image fibers.”, that’s a very important piece of evidence in favor of his hypothesis of a thin layer of impurities that would have been colored instead of the linen fibers. So far, I estimate that the chromophore has very good chances to be like Rogers thought, but concerning the presence of some superficial images on the backside, I estimate that the probability for this to be true is not as high, even though I think it’s possible. A direct chemical analysis, along with a proper imagery analysis (with all the modern techniques available) need to be done to know the truth.

  5. Yesterday evening, I read an interesting paper written by Bruno Barberis, the director of the Turin Centro entitled Perspectives for the Future Study of the Shroud. This paper was presented at the Valencia conference and is available on Shroud.com (http://shroud.com/pdfs/barberisv.pdf).

    Even if I agree with all the different testing proposals of M. Barberis that could be done if a new series of direct research could be allowed on the cloth by the Vatican, I want to point out one sad fact about this paper : Nowhere I saw a direct and clear proposal to verify in deep the question of the chromophore of the image while making a proper analysis of fibers located in non-image area in order to characterize the presence of any possible impurity deposits that could be present on these fibers and try to confirm the presence of some impurities (pectine and starch) that has already been found by some researchers like Rogers and Adler, along with an in-deep chemical, microscopic and spectroscopic analysis of the coloration that is found on image-fibers to see if the observations reported by Adler and Rogers concerning the ghosts and the diimide that left an undamaged fiber behind could be confirmed. In link with this hypothesis of Rogers, the analysis of the banding effect should also be a priority and I didn’t saw anything about that in M. Barberis paper. In fact, the only thing that comes close to checking out this important question of the image chromophore can be found when M. Barberis talk about the need to verify the official STURP conclusion that the image is a product of an oxidation-dehydration process in the linen fibers. Of course, I agree with M. Barberis that this particular hypothesis of the STURP team (along with the parallel hypothesis proposed by Fanti and concerning only the primary cell wall of the linen fibers) should be verify in deep but nevertheless, I would have liked to see M. Barberis talks about the hypothesis of Rogers concerning the thin layer of impurities and ask for a proper check of this hypothesis too, not only for the coloration that is found on fibers located in the image area but also for the possible presence of impurities on non-image fibers.

    To me, the question of the chromophore SHOULD be the most important thing to verify in deep with all the modern techniques available for this kind of task (including of course chemical analyses) and the hypothesis of Rogers concerning the impurities MUST be considered as one if not the most probable. In this regard, building a proper protocol to verify this particular hypothesis SHOULD rank very high in the list of priority for a future series of direct testing on the relic. To be honest, I was surprised that M. Barberis didn’t talk at all about this promising hypothesis of Rogers concerning the chromophore and to me, this is a clear indication that this question of the chromophore is TOO OFTEN NEGLECTED in Shroud studies, while this is maybe the most important key to unlock the “mystery” of the Shroud !!!

    And I must say that I was also very surprised not seeing any proposal of analysis from M. Barberis concerning the claim made by Fanti and others concerning the possible presence of superficial images of the hair, the beard and the mustache on the reverse side of the cloth. Since very precise images of the backside of the cloth have already been taken in 2000 and in 2002, I don’t know why these data would not be available for the scientists that would take part of this future series of direct research. Making an in-deep analysis of these images (with all the modern imagery techniques available) would be a very good start to verify if there really are some images on the backside of the cloth. Why M. Barberis didn’t said a word about that in his paper ? I really have no idea !!! And along with this imagery analysis, I think it would be a must to detach again the backing cloth from the Shroud (at least in the region of the face) to make a proper sampling of material residing on this back surface of the cloth in order to do an in-deep analysis of this material (chemical, microscopic, spectroscopic, etc.) and see if traces of coloration similar to the coloration we see on the inner part of the Shroud cannot be detect and confirmed. I know that the official position of the Centro is to say that there’s absolutely no image on the backside of the cloth but nevertheless, this possibility SHOULD be verified in deep if a new series of direct testing is allowed on the Shroud.

    Doing these 2 particular series of analyses would certainly help a lot in our understanding of the exact nature of the body image and I even have a sense that this could open a brand new era in Shroud study. One thing’s for sure: theses analyses would be excellent in order to confirm even more the hypothesis of Ray Rogers concerning the Maillard reaction or to seriously cast doubt over it. And that’s the same thing concerning all the hypothesis involving some kind of energetic radiation. In other words, if we could be certain of the exact nature of the image chromophore and of the presence or not of superficial images of the hair, beard and mustache on the backside of the cloth, we would be in a very good position to estimate correctly the real nature (chemical or not) of the body image on the Shroud and consequently, we would definitely have a much better idea if the process was natural or not.

    Again, I really don’t understand how and why M. Barberis has completely pass by these 2 very important series of testing concerning the impurities and the possible images on the backside of the cloth that SHOULD BE DONE ABSOLUTELY AND IN PRIORITY if a new series of direct researches would be permitted by the Church. That’s why I have to consider this particular paper as really incomplete, which is a sad observation that I put in the same category as the incomplete list of facts (especially the first draft) regarding the Shroud that was proposed by M. Rolfe at the same conference of Valencia and that was signed by almost anyone there…

    1. To finish my thoughts concerning my previous comment, I want to say this : I don’t know why but it really seem to me that almost everyone at the Valencia conference did not want at all to discuss or refer to the hypothesis of Rogers concerning the thin layer of impurities as the probable chromophore for the image and to me, this is totally unacceptable in the context of this kind of scientific conference !

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