Ethanol as an antifungal treatment for paper: short-term and long-term effects

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Silvia O. Sequeira; Alan J. L. Phillips; Eurico J. Cabrita; Maria F. Macedo;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 62, Number 1, p.33-42 (2017)


In paper conservation ethanol is used as an antifungal agent. However, information on the antifungal efficacy of this alcohol is scarce and often inconsistent. In this study, we clarify if ethanol is effective and safe to use in paper conservation in the short as well as in the long term. None of the tested ethanol concentrations (5–100%) promoted conidia germination, but rather delayed or entirely inhibited it, depending on alcohol concentration and contact time. In a simulation of an interventive treatment of samples colonized by fungi, all the tested ethanolic solutions (30, 70, and 100%) revealed antifungal activity. The best results were obtained with 70% ethanol, showing fungicidal properties on four of the five-tested fungal species (Aspergillus niger, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Penicillium chrysogenum, and Penicillium corylophilum). No deleterious effects of 70% ethanol on the tested paper were observed either in the short or in the long term.