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Subject: Alkaline board and protein

Alkaline board and protein

From: Dennis Piechota <piechota>
Date: Monday, January 3, 1994
For a few years now I have read the admonition that we should avoid
using alkaline buffered papers and boards in direct contact with
protein-bearing artifacts.

This has an obvious chemical rationale and therefore some legitimacy as
a precaution. However in my casual questioning over these years I have
not found a conservator who has observed damage due to contact between
buffered boards and proteins found in wool, silk, leather, gelatin, etc.

What if alkaline board contact does in fact deteriorate proteinaceous
materials, but at a very slow rate?  What if the rate were equal to or
less than the rate of deterioration due to protein oxidation in
unpolluted air--a deterioration mechanism that we recognize but do not
guard against?

Should we spend money and time retro-fitting storage containers simply
on the basis of a theoretical deterioration mechanism when we have not
established even a rough intuitive sense of the reaction rate?

To establish some sense of this rate I am asking the Conservation
DistList readership if you have ever observed such damage?

Such anecdotal reports would be very useful in themselves and more so
because I have not found published or unpublished attempts to predict
such reaction rates experimentally.


                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:48
                 Distributed: Thursday, January 6, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-7-48-007
Received on Monday, 3 January, 1994

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