Controlled atmospheres against insect pests in museums: a review and some considerations

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Alessia Berzolla *
Maria Cristina Reguzzi
Elisabetta Chiappini
(*) Corresponding Author:
Alessia Berzolla | alessia.berzolla@unicatt.it

Abstract

Controlled atmospheres using nitrogen represent a safe and effective method for both objects and human health. The use of this technique against pests in museums has received an increasing amount of interest during the last twenty years. This paper looks at the researches into anoxic treatments that use nitrogen from the late ‘80s until now. At the moment, the recommended protocol suggests an oxygen percentage below 1% for at least three weeks. Considering that the major practical problems of controlled atmospheres are connected to treatment time and low oxygen percentage, it is very important to develop more flexible protocols that consider higher oxygen percentages or shorter treatment times, exploiting temperature and/or relative humidity. At oxygen percentage higher than those commonly used, temperature and relative humidity are very critical to insects’ development and success. Preliminary data (unpublished) show that it is possible to adapt the application of the controlled atmospheres to different situations, taking advantage of favorable conditions already present in the considered situation and at the same time to use the other parameters at more favorable levels.

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