Clotrimazole is a well-known antimycotic agent, listed in the World Health Organization List of essential medicines, with minimal health side effects acknowledged throughout a long certification period. In this study, clotrimazole in isopropanol was tested as a potential antifungal treatment for paper objects. The antifungal properties of this azole compound were evaluated against five of the most common fungal species affecting paper collections. The addition of a deacidifying agent, calcium hydroxide nanoparticles, resulted in a multipurpose formulation also aimed at neutralizing the deleterious effects of acids excreted by fungi. Clotrimazole showed antifungal activity against all tested fungal species and its effectiveness followed the ascending order: Chaetomium globosum < Cladosporium cladosporioides < Penicillium chrysogenum < Aspergillus niger < Penicillium corylophilum. The best relationship between minimal concentration and fungal inhibition was achieved for 0.05% clotrimazole. The impact of the tested formulation on paper preservation was evaluated in terms of pH, colour and folding endurance, using moist heat artificial ageing. Clotrimazole and calcium hydroxide nanoparticles protected the paper from acidification and loss of folding endurance in the long term, thus representing a non-aqueous alternative treatment for paper affected by fungi.
- Calcium hydroxide