Smell Forensics of Old Books or Material Degradomics {Fragrant Readings}


An article looks at a new technique called "Material Degradomics" now used to diagnose the state of degradation of a book by using the sense of smell to analyze the famously musty odor profile of old, dusty tomes.

"Dr Strlic; said: "The aroma of an old book is familiar to every user of a traditional library.

"A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness, this unmistakable smell is as much a part of the book as its contents.

"It is the result of the several hundred VOCs off-gassing from paper and the object in general."....

Read more at the Telegraph....


"The new technique, called "material degradomics," analyzes the gases emitted by old books and documents without altering the documents themselves. They used it to "sniff" 72 historical papers from the 19th and 20th centuries, including papers containing rosin (pine tar) and wood fiber, which are the most rapidly degrading paper types in old books. The scientists identified 15 VOCs that seem good candidates as markers to track the degradation of paper in order to optimize their preservation. The method also could help preserve other historic artifacts, they add."

More in Science Daily...

Related Posts

Leave a Comment