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Subject: Pest management

Pest management

From: Robert J. Koestler <rkoestler1>
Date: Thursday, April 29, 1999
Giuseppe Cherubini <iat [at] dst__it> writes

>Enrico Flaiani <efl [at] iol__it> writes
>>I am a book conservator in an archive in Rome. Because of the
>>evidence of insects among our books a disinfestation was asked.
>I have the solution for Your books. We use Ageless, an oxygen
>adsorber to save and clean Your books. You have to put your books in
>a package together with Ageless and after 10 days all insects, mold
>etc. at any level (pupae, larvae, adult, egg) will be eliminated.

This response is very misleading and inaccurate.  Anyone following
this suggestion will be unlikely to eliminate any pests, unless by
accident. In any anoxic treatment the "packaging material" must have
low-oxygen permeability properties, the amount of Ageless used must
be sufficient to reduce the oxygen-rich air in the bag to less than
0.1% oxygen, and the length of time held at this low level must be
sufficient to suffocate the insects--this ranges from 3-6 weeks for
Ageless, or nitrogen gas or 2-4 weeks for argon gas, depending upon
insect species, object density, and temperature and humidity
conditions.  Caution in placement of packets of Ageless near objects
should be exercised as the oxygen-trapping process is exothermic.
The Ageless packets may heat up to 110+ degrees F.  Some glues,
waxes, gelatins, etc, may soften if in contact with the packets.

Killing fungi is much more difficult than killing insects.  One
treatment of Ageless, or other anoxic method, will not eliminate the
molds. Experiments I have conducted on fungal-infested material have
used a monthly cycling protocol--over eight months--using argon gas,
followed by measurement of actual fungal respiration.  After 1 month
a 90% reduction in fungal activity was found; after 8 months fungal
respiration activity was reduced to 99% of the original amount.

Another note: the use of high nitrogen environments, i.e., generated
by Ageless or nitrogen gas, when anaerobic, or even some fungal
organisms are present may encourage growth of these organisms.  We
are continuing studies to assess this issue.  Argon gas does not
encourage the growth of any microorganisms however (argon anoxia is
the method of choice at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other
museums around the world, and for the U.S. Declaration of
Independence and U.S. Constitution documents).

Dr. Robert J. Koestler
Research Scientist
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:83
                  Distributed: Friday, April 30, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-83-008
Received on Thursday, 29 April, 1999

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