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Fungi and molds in museum environment: Fungal biodeterioration of exhibited paper materials in the Criminology Museum of National & Kapodistrian University of Athens
EP38786
Poster Title: Fungi and molds in museum environment: Fungal biodeterioration of exhibited paper materials in the Criminology Museum of National & Kapodistrian University of Athens
Submitted on 23 May 2022
Author(s): Tziamourani E., Mitronatsios D.P., Nikolaidou N.V., Stefanidou M., and Panagiaris G.
Affiliations: 1. Laboratory for the Study and Conservation of Ancient and Contemporary Cultural Property, Faculty of Applied Arts and Culture, Department of Antiquities and Works of Art Conservation, University of West Attica 2.National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Faculty of Medicine, Museum of Criminology
This poster was presented at 43rd International Symposium on Archaeometry (ISA 2020/2022) - Lisbon, Portugal, May 16 to May 20, 2022, Organized by Instituto Superior Técnico
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Abstract: In this paper we present the results from indoor/outdoor measurements of particulate matter mass/number concentrations and viable, cultivable microbial load were performed in the museum for a period of 2 years at selected time intervals. Measurements of inhalable particulate mass (PM) and viable, cultivable airborne microorganism concentrations in air were performed. Also the isolation of microorganisms and fungi with a classical microbiological technique are presented. The fungal populations and the effect of environmental conditions on the paper surface were identified and characterized using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

The indoor PM and microbial concentrations were higher than the outdoor levels showing the influence of the indoor sources, such as the presence of people and indoor activities, as well as, anthropogenic outdoor sources and natural emissions. Two fungal species belonging to different genera were isolated from paper artifacts in case environments. Samples exposed to the environment showed positive results in contrast to the samples of the back cover. Aspergillus niger appeared to be the dominant fungus with a maximum number of colonies growing on the Sabouraud Dextrose Agar (SDA) medium, and opportunistic pathogenic heterotrophic bacteria in the museum showed to be enriched inside the closed showcases.

This work aims to show that the identification of a fungal genus or species on a document does not necessarily mean this fungus is the actual cause. Showcases offer not always protection for PM and
specific airborne bacteria. In contrast, enrichment of viable, cultivable airborne bacteria inside the showcases was observed that may be related to a possible utilization of the exhibits materials as sources for growth. An appropriate management of the museums microclimate according to the ISO 11799, in accordance to proper cleaning and disinfestating of the rooms, is the best practice to protect the exhibits and the health of people who work in them.
Summary: In museums and archives, collection environments fungi are a critical artifact biodeterioration factor, whereas most infections are airborne. Poor ventilation and temperature variations can produce water condensation points and adverse local micro-climates. These conditions favour fungal growth activity in specific museum exhibit areas; along these lines, colonizing paper made documents is typically caused by species of slow-growing Ascomycetes, as well as mitosporic xerophilic fungi of the geReferences: [1] Lazaridis et al. (2015). Indoor /outdoor particulate matter concentrations and microbial load in cultural heritage collections. Heritage Science 3:34

[2] Lazaridis et al. (2018). Characterization of airborne particulate matter and microbes inside cultural heritage collections. Journal of Cultural Heritage Vol. 30, 136
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