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Subject: Bacteria in parchment and paper

Bacteria in parchment and paper

From: Mary-Lou Florian <mflorian>
Date: Monday, November 12, 2001
Betsy Haude <haude [at] earthlink__net> writes

>...  Does anyone have experience with bacteria-infected items?
>If so, how would the bacteria best be eradicated?  We are concerned
>about saving the items without creating a health hazard for anyone
>handling them. ...

Use safety protection, gloves mask etc. and do the cleaning in a
fume hood or with an elephant trunk exhaust.

If the materials is damp, cover it with reemay and air dry it and
when dry bag it in clear poly bags. Dispose of reemay after use. If
the material is dry- bag it in clear poly bags until you can vacuum
it. Gram negative. i.e. E. coli bacteria have the endotoxin
lipopolysaccharide( LPS) in their cell wall, which is toxic when
inhaled. The cells should be removed if they are gram-neg. The cells
that will be a threat are the ones that become airborne. I have no
experience nor is there anything in the literature but theoretically
the cells that will become airborne could be easily vacuumed off.

If the bacteria could cause an intestinal illness, to prevent
contamination of people handling the material in the future, you
could pursue irradiation. I know some levels are deleterious to the
materials, so check out the lethal levels required to kill bacteria
and its effect on the materials ( paper, parchment). But remember
killing the bacteria does not destroy the endotoxin. Let me know
what you decide to do.

Mary-Lou Florian
Conservation Scientist

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:38
                Distributed: Tuesday, November 20, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-38-002
Received on Monday, 12 November, 2001

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