All cultural artefacts present in museums, archives and libraries must be conserved as long as possible and, to do so, they must be stored in an appropriate environment. Among the multiple causes of degradation, the presence of mold is one of the most frequent and constitutes a risk for both the collections and for the staff. Indeed, these micro-organisms can deteriorate, degrade, or destroy all materials in the collections. Furthermore, some species can be toxic or pathogenic, and their presence is a health hazard. Inhalation of spores and mycelial elements from the air as well as skin contact may cause various respiratory and skin diseases mainly in the forms of allergic reactions.
To effectively fight against these micro-organisms, it is important to know their structures and functions. Here, we present mold species most commonly found on cultural properties and in storage areas of collections. For each species, the database MYCOTA provides access to:
textual informations on the morphology, biology, physiology, and development mode as well as the biochemical, toxicological and pathological characteristics,
images: growth curves at 26 °C and 37 °C on different culture media, microscopic observations of their morpho-ontogenic structures; photographs illustrating their development on different culture media, as well as on material components of certain cultural property.
The database MYCOTA is intended primarily for conservation and restoration professionals. The database compiles information from both experiments and literature surveys conducted at the Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CRCC).
From the current level of twenty mold species, MYCOTA will continue to expand as there are less than 300 species that can contaminate cultural properties.