JAIC 1994, Volume 33, Number 1, Article 2 (pp. 25 to 32)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1994, Volume 33, Number 1, Article 2 (pp. 25 to 32)

LASER STAIN REMOVAL OF FUNGUS-INDUCED STAINS FROM PAPER

HANNA MARIA SZCZEPANOWSKA, & WILLIAM R. MOOMAW


ABSTRACT—Artworks and other documents on paper often suffer damage from the growth of several species of fungi. These fungi appear to utilize trace mineral elements in the paper for their metabolism and gradually consume the paper itself as a carbon source. In the process, they often produce stains on paper that may arise from colored, organic metabolic waste products, or the fungus may convert colorless metal ions in the paper into visible stains, as occurs in foxing. Sometimes the observed stain is that of the colored fungal bodies themselves. In this paper, we will report on the effectiveness of the intense light from a powerful laser to remove fungus-produced stains from prints, drawings, and artworks executed on paper. In some favorable cases, the fungal mycelia that penetrate the paper were removed along with the stain. Examination of successfully treated areas by both optical and electron microscopy reveals little or no damage to the surface or structure of the paper support following laser cleaning. Care must be exercised to avoid burning the paper with the laser beam or removing ink or pigment from the artwork itself. When used appropriately, laser removal of fungal stains and residue appears to have considerable potential for nondestructive conservation of works on paper.

Article Sections:

1. INTRODUCTION
2. TREATMENT METHOD
3. RESULTS OF LASER TREATMENT OF FUNGAL STAINS
4. UNDERSTANDING THE MECHANISM OF LASER STAIN REMOVAL
5. CONCLUSIONS
6. HEALTH AND SAFETY DATA
a: References , Author Information
Entire Article

Copyright 1994 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works