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Petrella G.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Mazzuca C.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Micheli L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Cervelli E.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 5 more authors.
International Journal of Conservation Science | Year: 2016

Paper has been used as writing and drawing support for thousands of years. The conservation of paper artworks plays a fundamental role in the field of our cultural heritage. Moreover, restoration of paper artworks is difficult due to their inherent fragility, the presence of many components and their degradation state. Among the factors that may contribute to paper deterioration are the use of glue for the application of different materials (as a lining, mounting or as a repair intervention) on the paper artifact. During a natural ageing process, glue become yellow, acid and less compact, accelerating the degradation processes of the artwork itself. The removal of glues from paper artworks represents, therefore, an important procedure for their preservation. Here we present a sustainable alternative to the common removal systems (e.g. solvents or localized enzymatic packs on the support to be cleaned). For this goal we used a rigid Gellan hydrogel (totally removable in one step) containing hydrolytic enzyme, such as proteinase K. The enzyme works as a selective cleaning agent hydrolyzing animal glues into smaller fragments, soluble into the gel. Our system represents an effective alternative to the traditional techniques because it is easy to be prepared, eco-friendly and efficient.

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