Assessment of the Applicability of Cellulolytic Enzyme in Disassembling of Caked Papers

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Conservation, Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University, Egypt.

2 Department of Chemistry of Natural and Microbial Products, Division of Pharmaceutical and Drug Industries, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt.

3 Chemistry of Natural and Microbial Products Department, National Research Centre, 33 El Bohouth st.(former El Tahrir st.), P.O 12622, Dokki, Giza, Egypt.

4 Microbiological Lab., NLA, Cairo., Egypt

5 Department of conservation, faculty of archaeology, Cairo university


The phenomenon of caked papers is one of the most serious problems faced the restoration and conservation of historical manuscripts, books, and paper documents. The papers reach a state of weakness and fragility make it difficult to deal with. Although various causes lead to this phenomenon, fungal bio-deterioration is the most important one. For the disassembling of caked papers, the traditional applied methods including mechanical separation and organic solvents are not completely effective. The present research aimed to find an applicable solution in the disassembling of caked papers via the evaluation of the use of locally produced cellulolytic enzyme. Therefore, different treatment conditions including the use of different enzyme activities for different treatment periods were examined. The amount of reducing sugars released in the treatment solution was initially determined. In addition, chemical, physical and mechanical properties of the treated samples were monitored using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, color change measurement, tensile strength and elongation. Digital and scanning electron microscopy were also applied to examine the topographic changes occurred on the surface of the treated papers. The results proved that the lowest concentration of the used enzyme able to separate the caked papers, improving its mechanical and physical properties.


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