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Subject: Alkaline board and protein

Alkaline board and protein

From: Geoffrey I. Brown <geoffrey.i.brown>
Date: Friday, January 14, 1994
I am very interested in Dennis's comments and questions, having had many
of the same thoughts myself, also over an extended number of years.  We
should consider a number of factors in choosing storage materials, not
just presumed and theoretical problems:

    1.  Most proteins can easily tolerate mild levels of alkalinity.

    2.  The surface alkalinity of buffered boards is not high unless the
        humidity is very high, in which case there are other, more
        serious and urgent problems.

    3.  Some of the breakdown products of proteins are or can become
        highly acidic.  These can accelerate further changes.  Do
        buffered materials neutralize these products of deterioration
        under normal conditions?

    4.  Does the buffering in storage materials serve, in fact, mostly
        to protect the storage materials against premature deterioration
        that would necessitate a high rate of expensive replacement?

I have not noticed any difference in deterioration of proteins that were
stored in buffered materials from those stored in non-buffered
materials.  My observations cover 25 years in ethnographic and
archaeological collections and include surveys of about 30 different
museums.  Most detectable deterioration is due to more overt causes.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:51
                 Distributed: Tuesday, January 18, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-7-51-001
Received on Friday, 14 January, 1994

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