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Subject: Sphagnum moss

Sphagnum moss

From: Linda Roundhill <artsconservation<-a>
Date: Thursday, March 20, 2008
Jamye Jamison <jamyejamison<-a t->yahoo< . >com  writes

>Does anyone have information on the use of sphagnum moss on
>paper/books as a treatment for mold and/or mildew? We have searched
>the Cons DistList and found nothing. A google search found that it
>is used extensively in horticulture in a grass like form. ...

I am not a paper conservator but I have never heard of this in any
literature.  It may well be true the sphagnum moss has a natural,
powerful and otherwise harmless fungicide in it that volatilizes and
leaves no residue.  But I would be very wary of applying any such
mystery fluid to any books.  Paper is so absorptive and susceptible
to acids, and any effluent created by soaking, boiling, crushing or
whatever process is used on the moss is likely to also leach out
innumerable complex molecules, like perhaps polysaccharides and
enzymes as well as any absorbed heavy metals and other pollutants
from the atmosphere, etc, that will have completely unknown effects
on the paper as it ages.

My apologies to any learned and experienced conservators who
regularly use this stuff, but unless I find an article outlining how
the substance is extracted and isolated, and precisely what it is, I
would advise avoidance.

Linda S. Roundhill
Art and Antiquities Conservation, LLC
Woodinville, WA

                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:50
                 Distributed: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
                       Message Id: cdl-21-50-006
Received on Thursday, 20 March, 2008

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