Dracula shed tears of blood, the discovery in Catania

According to a study published in Analytical Chemistry, researchers at the University of Catania have discovered traces of ancient proteins on three autograph letters written by Vlad III, the Romanian prince who inspired the legend of Dracula. The analysis of these proteins provides insights into Vlad’s health over five centuries ago. The researchers applied a special film to extract the protein residues without damaging the letters. They found thousands of peptides and proteins, focusing on the oldest and most degraded molecules that could be attributed to Vlad. These molecules suggested that Vlad may have suffered from a respiratory disease causing chronic lung infections and potentially a condition called hemolacria, in which tears of blood are shed. The study also identified thousands of protein residues from bacteria, viruses, fungi, insects, and plants, providing a glimpse into life in 15th-century Wallachia. The findings include traces of bacteria from normal human intestinal flora, as well as bacteria causing intestinal and urinary infections, and even the bacteria Yersinia pestis that causes the plague. Other molecules suggest the presence of fruit flies, tick and mosquito-borne viruses, and molds found on decomposing fruit.

Dracula piangeva lacrime di sangue, la scoperta a Catania

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