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ABIOS — Result In Brief

Project ID: 32192
Funded under: FP6-SME
Country: Italy

UV light brings cultural preservation out of the dark

Thanks to ultraviolet light, the future of protecting Europe's extensive cultural legacy is looking rather … bright.
UV light brings cultural preservation out of the dark
Control of environmental conditions is essential for preserving ancient artefacts such as manuscripts, paintings and other works of art. In this setting, airborne microbes can threaten not only the cultural objects themselves but also the individuals taking care of them or possibly viewing them. Past methods based on toxic gases, while somewhat effective, often put human health at even greater risk.

The participants in the project 'An innovative technology … to strongly reduce the microbial activity of the air inside the store rooms of cultural heritage conservation institutes' (ABIOS) had something better in mind.

The secret to the technique developed by the EU-funded ABIOS team is ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is extremely effective at eliminating organic compounds it comes in contact with. In fact, the UV light is so intense it can also harm the very objects it's trying to protect. It was therefore necessary to equip the ABIOS prototype with special shielding. Furthermore, manganese catalysts were added to reduce the amount of ozone, a highly oxidative gas in and of itself, generated by the UV light.

Trials were carried out initially in the laboratory and subsequently extended to an actual storage facility. Analysis of air samples collected by the prototype indicated excellent purification results within just a few hours of operation. It managed to eradicate both airborne fungi and mould spores without causing ozone to accumulate in the area.

The Project ABIOS has proved a successful example of how innovation and research funding have resulted in a real industrial and commercial success. In fact, RGI bioSteryl Tech, as industrial Partner of ABIOS Team, has submitted the application for a patent and started production and marketing of equipment ABIOS. Today ABIOS is already present at leading cultural institutions in Europe.

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