An Investigation of the Susceptibility of Acrylic Emulsion Paints to Biodeterioration by Mould: Developing a Methodology for the Study of Microbial Activity on Modern Paints
The biodeterioration of cultural heritage is a considerable concern for cultural institutions as the material variety within heritage objects provides diverse ecological niches for microorganisms to colonize. Due to limited prior studies, little is known about the vulnerability of acrylic emulsion paints, and other synthetic materials, to microbial colonization as these materials have been incorrectly assumed to be resistant to biological attack. This study presents an initial investigation of the susceptibility of acrylic emulsion paints to mould growth under different environmental conditions and seeks to develop a simple protocol for the study of mould growth on modern paints. Fresh acrylic paint films, both clean and artificially soiled, were inoculated with mould species and subjected to different relative humidity conditions for a thirty-one-day incubation period to determine the optimal conditions that support microbial growth. Results indicated that atmospheric relative humidity and the related paint film water activity (aw) are key factors in increasing the film’s susceptibility to mould growth, as those incubated in higher relative humidity environments were observed to have higher water activity levels and more evidence of mould growth. Mould growth was also observed on artificially soiled films, indicating the importance of a nutrient source on the film’s susceptibility to mould; however, results further indicated that some pigments and paint additives can act as a nutrient source, thus increasing film susceptibility. Conversely, other factors, such as paint film pH and specific mould species, were not found to have as significant an impact on film susceptibility. Protocols for research concerning mould on modern paints were proposed based on the results of this study. The results of this study provide a necessary foundation for the continued study of biodeterioration of acrylic emulsion paints.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/28103
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