Countering and identifying the agents responsible for the biodeterioration of cultural and museum assets, books or documents, both in the moment of prevention and in that of recovery and restoration, are the objectives that we have set ourselves in Prodoc.
Our specialized laboratories carry out the following activities:
- Diagnostic inspections to verify the state of conservation and the possible presence of microbiological infections or infestations that can damage people or materials;
- Evaluation of the hygienic state of the new acquisitions and donations;
- Intervention projects in case of microbiological infections or infestations;
- Controls during the testing process of sanitation treatments;
- Microbiological analyses of archival and library assets by means of innovative technologies and methodologies in the laboratory;
- Technical indications for a correct handling of the works and an exhaustive compilation of the Condition Report in case of loans;
- Monitoring of the thermohygrometric values of the confined area within the storage rooms;
- Pest monitoring through the use of adhesive entomological traps.
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Non-invasive analyses and sampling techniques
- Bio-Tape (Zefon) or Fungi-Tape (DID): transparent adhesive strips with low adhesiveness suitable for different surfaces (canvas, paper, parchment and wall surfaces). The strips do not affect the integrity of the book and documentary assets.
- Sterile swabs and Rodac plates: sampling methods from materials and cultivation on agar substrates.
- SAS system for microbiological analysis of air with control on the microbiological development of surfaces.
- Sterile microcellulose membranes for the removal of particulates from volumes and for optimal growth of microbacterial and fungal organisms on cultural media.
- Microbiological analysis under the SEM + EDS microscope of samples taken by adhesive tape from the areas attacked by microorganisms.
- Analysis of the viability of microorganisms by ATP assay and with the direct fluorescence method.
- We isolate and identify fungal and bacterial populations through the use of selective media.
- We carry out analyses of the microbial composition of air to establish the microbial load of the environment and the possible presence of fungal species harmful to humans, to ensure the healthiness of confined spaces, especially after an accident or a disaster.
- By means of DNA analyses we carry out microbiological recognition of the species from environmental samples and from complex matrices.
The experimental laboratory
To ensure the defense and restoration of damaged works, we set up experimental tests in the field of biotechnology and microbiology to identify the correct intervention strategies.
Some of the experiments we carry out are:
- The study of the nutritional preferences of biodeteriogens;
- The analysis of bioreceptivity of materials;
- The efficacy test of biocides both in vitro and in situ.
Microbiological monitoring is a fundamental aspect for museums, libraries, archives, historic buildings, churches and crypts.
It is used to identify possible sources of biological pollution and to decide which direct or preventive intervention strategies to adopt for the protection of the works.
Standard microbiological monitoring consists of a seasonal frequency of significant air and surface sampling with electronic thermohygrometric detection in relation to the type of sites and their use.