Conservation of chemically degraded waterlogged wood with sugars

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Kennedy, Anthony; Pennington, Edward Ross;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 59, Number 3, p.194-201 (2014)


The effectiveness of two non-reducing sugars, both analogues of sucrose, to conserve degraded waterlogged wood was examined. The two sugars examined are trehalose and sucralose, both stable and relatively unreactive. The ability of these sugars to conserve a series of degraded tongue depressors was measured by determining the anti-shrink efficiency of each at various concentrations and comparing them to sucrose. The findings of this study indicate that both sucralose and trehalose may be effective conservation treatments for waterlogged archaeological wood and that at moderate concentrations the performance of both is comparable to sucrose. However, sucralose has a lower solubility, and concentrations higher than 60% w/v were not examined, whereas concentrations of up to 100% w/v of trehalose were studied. At these higher concentrations trehalose performed as well, if not better than sucrose, although there were crystalline deposits on the wood surface at these higher concentrations. With modifications and careful control, both of these sugars may be suitable conservation alternatives to sucrose due to their long-term stability and resistance to hydrolysis.