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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Emerging fungal threat to historical film archives (UK)

Emerging fungal threat to historical film archives (UK)"A record of British life on film could be threatened from an emerging 'disease' which eats away at film. Home movies on cine film, videos and even TV and film archive can end up covered in fungal mould if they are not stored correctly. Researchers hope to develop special sensors to detect the mould before it does serious damage. Gavin Bingley is the researcher investigating films stored at the North West Film Archive in Manchester. Cinematographic film has a layer of gelatin on its surface. This emulsion layer is where the image is formed but also provides ideal food for fungi like Aspergillus and Penicillium. If the fungus forms a layer of mould on a film it produces enzymes which allow it to use the film as food and to grow. So the damage it can cause is irreversible as the mould "eats" the image stored on the film's surface"

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