Anoxia for Museum collections

Anoxic treatment system isolates the objects to be preserved into anoxic (without oxygen or oxygen deprived) micro environments, protects them from insects, aerobic biological threats and dust.

Over the past decade many museums have increased their use of inert gases to eliminate insects from infested objects. The reasons are clear, practical experience has shown that conventional fumigants can have adverse effects on various materials, and some fumigants or their reaction products are retained in the artifacts for long periods(Florian 1987). Further, they pose threats to human health and must be applied by trained personnel or contracted to specialized pest control operators. Some fumigants, such as methyl bromide, have been judged environmentally harmful, and their use is restricted by governmental agencies in many countries.

An alternative to fumigating artifacts is to expose them to very low or high temperatures. However research on the effect of exposure to extreme temperatures has not dispelled concerns regarding the safety of all objects under such conditions. Thus the treatment is limited to museum objects that contain thermally robust materials.

Atmospheres with low concentrations of oxygen had been used for the control of pests in stored food products for several decades before this method was adapted to the treatment of museum artifacts in the late 1980s. Considerable research on the efficiency of modified atmospheres for the control of pests in stored food has been conducted since about 1970.

Biodeterioration and its remedies_Page_14

The Use of Oxygen-Free Environments in the Control of Museum Insect Pests

Shin Maekawa and Kerstin Elert





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