Duration: 2006–2010

CICRP programme steering: Katia Baslé (director), Fabien Fohrer

Partnership(s): CRPAA, University of Bordeaux 3

The use of ethylene oxide is becoming increasingly limited due to its toxicity and the fact that it will be banned for the treatment of contaminated cultural property, without any other method to replace it. C2N2 (ethane dinitrile or cyanogen) is a less toxic gas that might be a viable alternative. The CICRP has thus undertaken a research programme to verify the effectiveness of C2N2 on strains of moulds most frequently encountered on cellulosic material by studying three parameters: gas concentration, relative humidity level and duration of treatment.

Duration: 2003–2010

CICRP: Katia Baslé, Nicolas Bouillon, Fabien Fohrer, Odile Guillon

Partnership(s): Institute of Archaeomaterials Research, UMR CNRS 5060, IRAMAT-CRPAA; University of Bordeaux 3; Agro Techmo Hygiene, University of Perpignan

Following serious conservation problems tied to environmental conditions, particularly the deterioration of organic material due to infestation by Stegobium paniceum, especially for easel paintings in the Mediterranean region, the CICRP has established starting from 2006 an interdisciplinary programme around four principal topics:

  • The assessment of infestations and their development in painted works by a protocol of standardised photography based on the automatic counting of flight (or exit) holes by image processing.
  • The identification of the most attractive formulas and ingredients using infestation tests on laboratory-made samples of relined paintings.
  • The analysis of glue-pastes by GC/MS so as to correlate their attractiveness according to their chemical composition.
  • The establishment of a StegoSIG geographic information system


  • Fohrer F., Basle K. and Daniel F., ‘Compréhension et analyse des phénomènes d’infestation et de réinfestation par le Stegobium paniceum des peintures de chevalet rentoilées à la colle de pâte’, Support Tracé, 2006, 6: 78–83.
  • Bouillon N., Fohrer F. and Bonnafoux B., ‘Study of pest infestation of glue-paste lined easel paintings: characterization of traditional glue-paste recipes and their relevant Volatile Organic Compounds by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry’, ICOM Committee for Conservation, 15th Triennial Meeting in Delhi, India Preprints, September 2008.
  • Baslé K., Bouillon N., Fohrer F., Guillon O. and May R., ‘Pour une approche raisonnée des problématiques d’infestation en milieu patrimonial : le cas du Stegobium paniceum‘, Techné 2009, no. 29.
  • Baslé, K. and May, R.,: ‘StegoSIG : un système d’information géographique pour connaitre et prévenir les risques d’infestation, appliqué au milieu patrimonial’, METANIR Project under the European Programme Noé (2006–2007), 2007, pp. 71–84.

Duration: 2008–2011

CICRP programme director: Katia Baslé

Partnerships(s): Institute of Archaeomaterials Research, UMR CNRS 5060, IRAMAT-CRPAA; University of Bordeaux 3; Materia Viva Laboratory, Toulouse; TRACES Laboratory – UMR 5608 CNRS, University of Toulouse – Le Mirail; Laboratory for Stored Products – LNDS-QUALIS, Bordeaux

Problems of infestation and re-infestation are recurrent in all heritage sectors (museums, historic monuments, archives, libraries) and problematic particularly in historic monuments: diversity of works present, heterogeneity of materials and especially mass treatments, objects that often cannot be transported and/or cannot be dismantled (retables, pulpits, paneling and mural decorations etc.), large-format objects, topography of the grounds, etc.

The use of mass treatments, in situ and under short time frames, has led to the testing of four gases: dimethyl disulfide or DMDS: CH3S-CH3S; hydrogen phosphide or phosphine: PH3; sulfuryl fluoride: SO2F2; and ethanedinitrile: C2N2, as well as the potential physico-chemical alterations on heritage property.

The results were published in 2011: hydrogen phosphide and ethanedinitrile are to be prohibited as they provoke, respectively, the formation of phosphides and nitrates, which particularly corrode copper. DMDS seems satisfactory but presents a major inconvenience due to the prolonged lingering of its strong alliaceous odour. Sulfuryl fluoride yields the best results so long as a filter is used to prevent impurities from getting deposited on the works and altering them.


  • Baslé, K., Daniel, F., Mounier, A., Queixalos, I. and Robbiola, L., ‘The disinfestation of historical monuments: Gas substitutes for methyl bromide‘ (forthcoming), in: Proceedings of the CAF (Controlled Atmosphere and Fumigation), Antalya, Turkey, 15–19 October 2012.
  • Baslé K., Daniel F., Mounier A., Queixalos I., Robbiola L., Ducom P., Ciesla Y. and Fritsch J., ‘Gas substitutes for methyl bromide in cultural heritage: disinfestation of historical monuments’, in: Journal of Entomological and Acarological Research, ser. 2 – vol. 43(2).