Fungal diversity on historical documents: molecular identification and implementation of control strategies for the preservation of the archivistic patrimony
Coordinator - António Portugal
Programme - PTDC
Execution dates - 2007-05-01 - 2010-04-30 (36 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT (PTDC/HAH/65262/2006)
Total Funding - 100 000 €
Proponent Institution -
Participating Institutions
1 - FCTUC (Department of Botany) 2 - University of Coimbra (Archive)

This interdisciplinary project, which integrates distinct investigation fields of biological sciences with a specific focus on the preservation of historical archivistic documents is groundbreaking in our university.

The main goals for this project are:

i) To do the inventory of infecting fungi on several bibliographic documents, from different supports (parchment, leather, linen paper, cotton paper and cellulose paper), under diverse conservation conditions, namely acidification, which is a crucial parameter in the process of fungal infection.

ii) To identify the infecting fungi by molecular biology techniques based on PCR, DGGE and DNA sequencing. The correct identification of the infecting groups is critical for the selection of control strategies, therefore, electron microscopy will be used when needed.

iii) To develop fungicide-free methods for the control of infectious species, based on physical (e.g. gamma radiation) and chemical (e.g. sodium hypochlorite washing and use of chloroform/formaldehyde atmospheres in anaerobic chamber) approaches.