Effects of chewing insect attack (Blaptica dubia) on colour photographic prints


Abstract: In the context of a larger research aimed to highlight possible differences in the vulnerability of photographic materials related to different manufacturing characteristics (i.e. the three main binders: albumin, collodion, and gelatin) several trials have been carried out to assess the damage caused by Blattodea, omnivorous insects widely distributed in museum and in archives environments. They are particularly harmful to paper materials because of their ability to corrode and mess, with their excrements, the objects with which they come in contact; moreover they can provoke public health problems (allergies) and sometimes transmit infectious diseases. In this paper we present the results of a study carried out to investigate the damage caused by Blaptica dubia (Blaberidae) to coloured photographic materials samples such as: chromogenic colour prints (resin coated), photomecanical prints (offset) and inkjet prints, exposed to insects and monitored for a three weeks period. XRF Spectroscopy was used to perform elemental analysis of samples. Radiation technologies can be considered an alternative method to ethylene oxide disinfestation.

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