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

Publications:

  • 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.

Publications:

  • 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).

Programme start: 2012

CICRP: Fabien Fohrer

Partnerships(s): Grazia Nicosia, conservator-restorer, National Centre of Plastic Arts (CNAP) grant; Yohanna Dechezleprêtre, conservator-restorer

This research has been carried out with and at the instigation of Grazia Nicosia, conservator-restorer and CNAP research assistant, in collaboration with the artist Ian Fabre.

This study aims to test the repellent effectiveness of essential oils used alone or in combination on certain insects currently encountered on this type of material (examples: Anthrenus verbasci, Stegobium paniceum, Gibbium psylloides, etc.).

Concurrently, a study on the chemical and physical harmlessness of these substances is being carried out on the materials traditionally used by artists, such as insects, but also bones, feathers, leather, hair and also metals and textiles. The study of these repellents, their mode of action and their user protocols will make it possible to improve the packaging and storage of these works by reducing the risk of insect infestation.

Publication:

Fohrer F., 2011, ‘Recherche de produits ou molécules de substitution pour la protection des oeuvres patrimoniales’, La lettre de l’OCIM, No. 138, November–December: 21–22.


Programme start: 2008

CICRP: Nicolas Bouillon (director), Fabien Fohrer

Partnership(s): Aurélia Chevalier, doctor of conservation-restoration, Arts et Métiers-Paris Tech

This programme is an offshoot of a larger programme on Stegobium paniceum and focuses on glue-pastes and the risk of insect infestation for traditionally relined paintings. It also encompasses a concurrent entomological study based on infestation test samples of known composition as well as the analysis of glue-pastes by GC-MS in order to correlate their attractiveness according to their chemical composition.

Pictorial layer

Loss of pictorial layer and its original support following a severe infestation

The first conclusions have addressed the type and quantity of flour used as a principal attraction factor and the presence of Venice turpentine as a plasticizer as a possible repelling factor. Physico-chemical analyses are systematically carried out on real samples taken from infested relined paintings restored at the CICRP in order to correlate the degree of infestation of works with the chemical composition of glue-pastes.

This programme also aims to develop a new natural glue-paste formula that is reversible and long-lasting in terms of effectiveness and the risk of insect infestation. This type of adhesive could constitute an alternative to synthetic linings, which can create a number of reversibility as well as compatibility problems with the original materials, and whose degradation processes and their effects are still poorly understood and controlled at present.

Support infestation

Traces of infestation by Stegobium paniceum of a glue-paste relined support

Publications:

  • 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 : a 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.