The Use of Oxygen-Free Environments in the Control of Museum Insect Pests

The Use of Oxygen-Free Environments in the Control of Museum Insect Pests

Shin Maekawa and Kerstin Elert


224 pages

PDF file size: 12.1 MB


Museums throughout the world face the challenge of finding nontoxic methods to control insect pests. This book focuses on practical rather than theoretical issues in the use of oxygen-free environments, presenting a detailed, hands-on guide to the use of oxygen-free environments in the eradication of museum insect pests.

This volume discusses the use of nitrogen as the inert gas used to replace oxygen, and on the use of a few specific types of containers as treatment chambers. An initial chapter explains the general advantages anoxia offers museum conservators. Subsequent chapters discuss methods and materials, small-scale anoxia using an oxygen absorber, large-scale anoxia using external nitrogen sources, and protocols for insect eradication using nitrogen anoxia. Appendices include a list of manufacturers and suppliers of material and equipment used in nitrogen anoxia.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Insect Mortality Using Anoxia
    • Pest Control in Museums
    • Major Factors Influencing Insect Mobility
      • Temperature
      • Relative Humidity
      • Oxygen Concentration
      • Combination of Low-Oxygen Atmosphere and Carbon Dioxide
    • Optimal Parameters for the Anoxia of Museum Pests
    • Notes
    • References
  • Chapter 2: Methods and Materials for the Anoxia of Insects in Museum Objects
    • Anoxic Eradication of Insects
      • The Containers and the Method
      • Safety of Objects in Nitrogen Atmospheres
      • Bases for Choosing the Best Mode of Anoxic Treatment
      • Small- versus Large-Scale Containers
    • Oxygen-Barrier Film for Making Bags and Tents
      • Overview
      • Some Laminates Useful for Anoxia and a Comparison of Their Properties
      • The Selection of a Barrier Film for an Anoxic Bag
    • Heat Sealing of Barrier Films to Form Anoxic Enclosures
    • Monitoring of Anoxic Conditions
      • Inexpensive Qualitative Oxygen Indicators: Ageless-Eye®
      • Oxygen Monitors and Analyzers
      • Relative Humidity Monitors
      • Temperature Sensors and Thermometers
      • Leak Detectors
      • Data Collection during the Anoxic Process
    • Notes
    • References
  • Chapter 3: Small-Scale Anoxia Using an Oxygen Absorber
    • The Chemical Process of Oxygen Absorption
    • Properties of Oxygen Absorbers: Absorption Capacity, Reaction Rate, and Moisture Release
      • Ageless® Oxygen Absorbers
      • Atco™ Oxygen Absorbers
      • FreshPax™ Oxygen Absorbers
      • RP-Systems™ Oxygen Absorbers
    • Amount of Oxygen Absorber to Use for Anoxia in Bags
      • Calculation of the Amount of Oxygen Absorber
      • Conclusion
    • Procedure for Anoxia in Plastic Bags Using Oxygen Absorbers
    • Control of Moisture Release by an Oxygen Absorber
    • Notes
    • References
  • Chapter 4: Large-Scale Anoxia Using External Nitrogen Sources
    • Overview
    • Safe Use of Large Volumes of Nitrogen
    • Nitrogen Sources: High-Pressure Gas, Liquid Nitrogen, Nitrogen Generation
      • Nitrogen Gas Cylinders
      • Liquid Nitrogen Containers
      • Nitrogen Generators
    • Humidification of Nitrogen
    • Fabrication, Testing, and Use of Large Flexible Anoxic Enclosures
    • Tests of a Commercial Fumigation Bubble for Museum Anoxia
      • Modication of Power Plastics Bubbles (Used by Rentokil) for Anoxia
    • Leak-proof Connectors to Anoxic Enclosures
    • Leak Rates of Large Anoxic Enclosures Made from Plastic Film
    • Rigid Chambers for Anoxia
      • Testing and Operation of a Rigid Chamber
    • Notes
    • References
  • Chapter 5: Protocols for Insect Eradication in Nitrogen (Anoxia)
    • Choosing a Protocol
    • Protocol A: Anoxia in Small to Medium-Size Bags or Pouches
      • Nitrogen Purging: Reducing the Amount of Oxygen Absorber
      • Nitrogen Purging: Physical Setup and Process
      • Troubleshooting Protocol A
      • Materials and Equipment for Fabrication and Operation of Anoxic Bags
    • Protocols for Anoxia in Large-Scale Systems
    • Protocol B: Anoxia in Large, User-made Tents
      • Part 1: Enclosure Fabrication and Testing
      • Part 2: Anoxic Treatment
      • Materials and Equipment
    • Protocol C: Anoxia in Large Commercial Enclosures (Portable Bubbles)
      • Materials and Equipment
    • Protocol D: Anoxia in Large Rigid Chambers
      • Preparation: Testing for Leaks
      • Materials and Equipment
      • Troubleshooting Large-Scale Anoxia Systems
    • Notes
  • Appendix I: Protocol Tools
    • Leak Testing of Anoxic Enclosures
      • Supplies Required for Leak Testing
    • Construction and Use of a Nitrogen Humidification System
      • Constructing the Humidification System
      • Supplies and Specific Part Numbers for Materials Required to Fabricate a Nitrogen Humidication Unit
    • Leak-proof Connectors in Anoxic Enclosure Walls
      • Supplies Required for Connectors
    • Calculation of Required Amount of Oxygen Absorber
    • Calculation of Required Amount of RH-conditioned Silica Gel
      • Materials
    • Notes
  • Appendix II: Technical Addenda
    • Reaction of an Iron Powder “Oxygen Absorber” with Oxygen
    • Calculation of the Amount of Oxygen Absorber Required to Maintain 0.1% Oxygen in an Anoxic Enclosure Whose Leak Rate Is Known
    • Determination of the Oxygen Leak Rate of an Anoxic Enclosure
    • Determination of the Rate of Reaction of Oxygen with Ageless®
    • References
  • Appendix III: Table of Conversion Factors
  • Appendix IV: Manufacturers and Suppliers of Materials and Equipment Useful in Anoxia
    • Oxygen-Barrier Films, Bubbles, and Oxygen Absorbers
    • Tools and Equipment
    • Addresses and Web Sites
  • Appendix V: Outlines for Treatment Protocols A, B, and C
    • Outline for Protocol A
    • Outline for Protocol B
    • Outline for Protocol C
  • Index
  • About the Authors

About the Authors

Shin Maekawa received his M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has been a professional engineer for the State of California. He is currently a senior scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute. His research focuses on oxygen-free environments for the control of insect pests and long-term storage and display of artifacts, design of specialized storage and display cases, and monitoring and control of environments for artifacts as well as historical buildings.

Kerstin Elert received her diploma in objects conservation from the Staatliche Akademie der bildenden Kunste in Stuttgart, Germany. She was a research fellow at the Getty Conservation Institute, where she conducted research on anoxic treatment for insect control between 1995 and 1998. Currently she is a research fellow at the Department of Mineralogy and Petrology at the University of Granada.