Disinfection and Disinfestation

Mold infections and insect infestations in archives, libraries and museum deposits

The presence of molds, fungal spores, insects and other biodeteriogenic agents is one of the most serious problems faced by libraries, archives, museum deposits.

These agents can cause significant damage to paper material, threatening its integrity and correct conservation.

Statistically, most of the bodies responsible for the protection of archival and book heritage must face the problem of molds and, secondly, the problem of insect infestations during their existence. However, cases of combined attacks caused by insects that draw nourishment from the molds themselves, as well as from the paper, are not rare.

The conservation environment, the accidents and the contaminations that favor the appearance of molds and insects on the paper material

Mold and fungal spore infections and insect infestations originate and/or are often nourished by environments unsuitable for storage – for example, humid and/or dusty environments.

The cleanliness, sanitation and optimal microclimatic conditions of the storage environments – temperature and degree of relative humidity – therefore constitute a basic condition to avoid running into these problems.

In any case, infections and infestations can also occur as a result of catastrophic events, accidents and contaminations of various kinds.

In case of flooding due to natural disasters – floods, floods, etc. – and artificial – broken pipes, systems, fire extinguishing, etc. -, the contact of the paper material with water creates the conditions for a rapid and harmful fungal proliferation.

This is why it is essential to intervene immediately on the wet material, proceeding with its transfer and massive freezing in container freezers. This practice prevents the development, growth and proliferation of fungal spores, making the recovery of the damaged material less onerous. However, it requires compliance with appropriate timescales which may be negatively influenced not only by the characteristics and outcomes of the disaster or accident, but also by organisational, logistic, bureaucratic and budgetary factors.

The CryoSafetySystem for the instantaneous arrest of fungal proliferations in the event of disasters

The CryoSafetySystem is a proprietary innovation that distinguishes the success of Fratielivi’s interventions in the event of disaster recovery for paper materials damaged by water and at risk of infection and infestation.

This exclusive parameterized and modular pre-freezing system allows the company’s rescue team to intervene throughout the Italian territory and to place large quantities of books and archival documentation in complete safety, stopping the deterioration of the materials that came into contact with the water.

Thanks to the CryoSafetySystem, the wet material is in fact immediately placed in the temperature conditions functional to the arrest of fungal proliferations, well before its necessary transfer to the freezer containers.

In this way, the timelines required by a truly effective intervention are always fully respected; the constraints deriving from organizational, logistical or budgetary obstacles to movement become much less stringent and onerous; the costs of the intervention and recovery are lower.

Books Wind1, Books Wind2, Docursan1, Docursan3 and Docursan4 for the disinfection and disinfestation of archival and book heritage

To solve the problem of infections and infestations that affect or may affect the archival and book heritage in emergency situations, Fratielivi has designed and developed special systems and machinery – Books Wind1, Books Wind2, Docursan1, Docursan3, Docursan4 – which guarantee targeted solutions , effective, certified.

Thanks to this unique fleet of machines and plants in Italy and its skilled workforce, the company is always able to:

  • intervene on paper and membranous supports subject to protection (books, folders, loose papers, documents, parchments, etc.) infected or infested or at risk – especially if damp or wet – of developing mold and bacteria;
  • sanitize and disinfect large quantities of material, as in the case of accidents, in a short period of time;
  • ensure the adoption of the most suitable solution for the state of conservation and fragility of the material to be treated;
  • certify the nature and success of its interventions.

In the event that i archives and books turn out at risk of fungal germination and bacterial proliferation due to damage from water and humidity, Fratielivi, in addition to guaranteeing pre-freezing with the CryoSafetySystem, is able to offer handling, transport, displacement and storage in their own freezer containers.

The frozen material is then sent to thedrying, which – depending on the entity, the state of conservation, the fragility and the damage found through appropriate microbiological analyzes – Fratielivi carries out both with Books Wind1 – the only freeze-drying plant certified in Italy to date – and, in more specific cases, with Books Wind2 and Docursan3, which operate through hydrocondensation-drying.

For the sanitization and disinfection, even massive, of the archival and book heritage, Fratielivi has developed a series of proprietary solutions over the years. The latter are based on plants and machinery which, through forces of a physical nature – as in the case of Books Wind2 – and physicochemical – as in the case of Docursan1 -, successfully neutralize and counteract a wide variety of biodeteriogens.

Introduced in 2021, Docursan1 allows, in particular, to sanitize locally – therefore also in archives, libraries, museums and entities that hold documents subject to protection that are difficult to handle – archival and book assets and to eliminate moulds, fungi, gram positive and negative bacteria and viruses (including Covid 19), in total safety for the operators, the material and its potential users.

With Docursan1 books, folders, loose papers, parchments, etc. they are disinfected not only topically but also in depth – or with a “volume” heart – and with a certified efficacy of more than 99%.

The machine operates through the combined and harmonized action of forces of a physical and chemical nature. In fact, Docursan1 uses a disinfectant agent with a biocidal action, the use and composition of which are in perfect compliance with the regulations, guidelines and recommendations of the bodies and institutions – national and international – responsible for safeguarding the archival and book heritage.

Finally, Cryo-disinfestation is the solution chosen and proposed by Fratielivi to save the archival and book assets infested by insects without any use of chemicals harmful to the health of the operators – such as ethylene oxide – or potentially harmful to the integrity of assets.

In this regard, the company has developed its own automated disinfestation technologybased on controlled and parameterised cold – which has been subjected to empirical tests by a prestigious Italian university research centre.

This technology, which equips the Books Wind2 plants and the Docursan1, Docursan3 and Docursan4 machines, is able to eliminate the insects present on paper, parchment and wooden exhibits at each stage of their life cycle with 100% effectiveness.

Fratielivi’s disinfection and disinfestation interventions, in perfect compliance with the law, are always carried out and directed by qualified restorers and subjected to final validation of the performance through certified microbiological and entomological analyses.

On the other hand, the procedures and processes adopted guarantee both the correct conservation of documents and the health of the operators and users of the sanitized and disinfested material.

Fratielivi’s global approach to disinfection and pest control

Correctly sanitizing archival and library material requires a global approach, i.e. the implementation of processes, procedures and products in the phase before and after disinfection and disinfestation.

To ascertain the existence, nature and extent of the problems of mold infections and insect infestations, Fratielivi is able to preliminarily offer accurate certified microbiological analyzes.

The dedusting ex ante and possibly ex post disinfection and disinfestation can moreover be carried out on site or at customers’ premises, with the latest generation of suction benches and with the new range of DEA machines.

The company’s production of certified paper converting and long-life containers also allows Fratielivi to offer the reconditioning service of sanitized and disinfested material.

The support and services of Fratielivi for the prevention of mold and insect attacks

Finally, an important role in counteracting the development of molds and insects in archives, libraries and museum deposits is played by prevention.

On this front, Fratielivi is able to provide its customers with a wide range of services and technological solutions. They include: environmental reclamation and sanitization which, when necessary, is a prerequisite for the relocation of the collections; the microbiological and entomological monitoring of the environments, and the restoration and control of the optimal microclimatic conditions of conservation, through the supply of data loggers, dehumidifiers and INT4SAN, a special air purifier designed to improve the air quality and hygiene of storage environments.


Do you want to know more about us or about
our services? Contact us now: our team
is ready to answer you