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Subject: pH and mold

pH and mold

From: Karen Motylewski <nedcc>
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 1993
In private mail, Shannon Zachary noted that Library of Congress has
indicated research activity in the relationship of pH and mold growth. A
draft review by Chandru Shahani ("Preservation Research at the Library
of Congress: Recent Progress and Future Trends," paper presented at the
Library of Congress [invitational] Round Table on Preservation and
Development 9/28-29/1992 published in Preliminary Conference
Proceedings) gives the status of this research as "To be initiated in
1992/93." It is an off-shoot of the LC mass deacidification research. Of
significant interest is Shahani's statement that "In general, acidic
materials are more resistant to fungal growth than alkaline materials."
No references or additional details are given.

I now have a collection of research papers that report that (1) elevated
pH may retard the growth of some molds; (2) paper pH up to about 10
appears to have no effect; and (3) acidic material is mold-resistant.
Back to Mary-Lou Florian's statement that this is more complicated than
we wish it was.  One of my favorite preservation statements comes from
Richard DeGennaro, Librarian of Harvard College.  To paraphrase:
"There's no cheap, universal solution for preservation, and if we found
one, somewhere down the line we'd discover it had been the wrong one."

I'll keep readers updated on any pragmatic, reliable information I find
on pH and mold.

Karen Motylewski

                  Conservation DistList Instance 6:54
                 Distributed: Thursday, April 15, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-6-54-004
Received on Tuesday, 13 April, 1993

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