Identification of Microbial Species and Investigation of Measures to Control Microbial Activities

The focus of this first component was to identify microbial species present in historic buildings and to investigate the use of ventilation to control or arrest microbial activity in historic buildings in hot and humid regions.

With support from the GCI, Nieves Valentin at the Center for Biological Investigation (CIB) in Madrid, Spain, investigated fungal and bacterial species commonly found in Spanish cultural institutions, as well as the environmental conditions necessary for their existence.

In the second year of this research, laboratory experiments were conducted in a 500-liter environmental chamber to identify the capability of ventilation strategies to arrest fungal and bacterial growth on paper surfaces and in the environment. A set of similar experiments was performed during the third year to simulate more realistic field conditions. Hot and humid environments were produced in a small basement room of the National Historic Archive of Spain in Madrid, a non-air conditioned historic building.

Work Completed

  • Survey of fungal and bacterial species found in museums, libraries, and archives in Spain and in the basement of the National Historic Archive of Spain.
  • Publication of the results of the above experiments in a specialized periodical.
  • Testing of various ventilation rates in the laboratory and in buildings.
  • Monitoring of fungal and bacterial activities in the Historic Archive of La Laguna, on Tenerife Island, Spain.
  • Monitoring of fungal and bacterial species in Hollybourne Cottage, on Jekyll Island, Georgia, USA.
  • Quantification of microbial activities before and after the installation of climate control strategies.