EFFECT OF “FREEZING” TREATMENTS ON THE HYDROTHERMAL STABILITY OF COLLAGEN
STEPHEN L. WILLIAMS, SARAH R. BEYER, & SAMINA KHAN
The current study, although simple in concept, provides potentially useful information regarding some standard museum practices. Results of this study indicate that current practices of lowering temperatures for pest control (Florian 1990a) and for stabilizing water-saturated materials (Jakes and Mitchell 1992) have minimal effect on collagen stability. Treatments involving the freezing, thawing, and drying of fresh skin tissue, however, contribute to collagen instability and are best avoided. All so-called freezing treatments of collagenous materials should be used cautiously. Not only may they fail to achieve the desired results, but they have the potential to promote reactions with other components of the skin and, through repeated treatments, to contribute cumulative effects about which little is known.
The authors gratefully acknowledge Gregory S. Young, Canadian Conservation Institute, for critically reviewing the manuscript; Michael R. Willig, Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, for assisting with statistical analyses; and the Leather Research Institute, Texas Tech University, for funding the project.