2021-06-27Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3390/polym13132112
Ageing Effects in Mounting Media of Microscope Slide Samples from Natural History Collections: A Case Study with Canada Balsam and PermountTM
Microscope slide collections represent extremely valuable depositories of research material in a natural history, forensic, veterinary, and medical context. Unfortunately, most mounting media of these slides deteriorate over time, with the reason for this not yet understood at all. In this study, Raman spectroscopy, ultraviolet–visible (UV–Vis) spectroscopy, and different types of light microscopy were used to investigate the ageing behaviour of naturally aged slides from museum collections and the experimentally aged media of Canada balsam and PermountTM, representing a natural and a synthetic resin, respectively, with both being based on mixtures of various terpenes. Whereas Canada balsam clearly revealed chemical ageing processes, visible as increasing colouration, PermountTM showed physical deterioration recognisable by the increasing number of cracks, which even often impacted a mounted specimen. Noticeable changes to the chemical and physical properties of these mounting media take decades in the case of Canada balsam but just a few years in the case of PermountTM. Our results question whether or not Canada balsam should really be regarded as a mounting medium that lasts for centuries, if its increasing degree of polymerisation can lead to a mount which is no longer restorable.
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