Anyone for a nice cup of tea? The use of bacterial cellulose for conservation of waterlogged archaeological wood

David John Gregory, Yvonne Shashoua, Nanna Braunschweig Hansen, Poul Jensen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

112 Downloads (Pure)


Current conservation practice is to replace the water in cell structures of waterlogged wood with a synthetic polymer. Because cellulose is an integral component of wood, they are likely to show higher compatibility than synthetic polymers. Bacterial cellulose (BC) can be relatively easily grown from Acetobacter xylinum in liquid medium at 25°C–30°C using fructose as nutrition. The purpose of this original research was to determine the potential of growing cellulose directly onto waterlogged wood. Bonding between BC and paper substrates, used to model the cellulose component of wood, was strengthened by using autoclaved media and by optimising access to oxygen. Pre-treating paper with acetone increased bonding strength between BC and Munktell filter paper. Despite the presence of potentially competing bacteria, BC grew at surfaces and within the pores of heavily degraded waterlogged archaeological wood. Initial investigations into conserving waterlogged wood with BC show promise, but require further development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date5 Sept 2017
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2017
EventICOM-CC 18th Triennial Conference Preprints - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 4 Sept 20178 Sept 2017
Conference number: 18


ConferenceICOM-CC 18th Triennial Conference Preprints

Bibliographical note

art. 2004


  • Bacterial cellulose
  • Fructose spot test
  • Waterlogged wood consolidant
  • Acetobacter xylinum
  • Paper

Cite this