New Research on Oxygen Meter & Analyzer Performance

The detection of low quantities of oxygen (less than 0.3% by volume) is essential to the creation of an anoxic environment capable of eradicating all stages of insect life. To ensure sufficiently low oxygen levels throughout an anoxic treatment, digital oxygen meters are commonly used. Most of these meters, which are lower in cost than more precise oxygen analyzers, are manufactured for the purpose of monitoring human safety, and therefore, are designed and calibrated for the detection of oxygen near the natural atmospheric amount of around 20.9% at sea level.

How can we be sure that the oxygen level readings detected by the digital oxygen meters used in anoxic treatment are accurate? Is it possible that when our oxygen meters display a reading of  0.3% oxygen by volume or lower, the oxygen content inside the sealed environment is actually higher?

To explore these questions, Eric Breitung of the Metropolitan Museum’s Science Department and Gabrielle Crowther of Art Conservation Group tested a set of oxygen meters against an oxygen analyzer with more sensitive capability for the detection of gasses with fairly surprising results. Some tracked very low oxygen levels well, while others read zero percent oxygen at levels much greater than 0.3%. The overall conclusion was a strong recommendation to regularly verify your meter against a standard!

A full report is now available on the Museumpests website for all to read.

17th MuseumPests Working Group Meeting 2020 Update

Hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 26-28

 I’m delighted to be back at the MuseumPests Working Group for the third time, it’s wonderful to be welcomed back into the IPM family! As the end of day three rolls around, it’s time to write the blog and reflect on all the work, tours and presentations that’s kept us occupied for the last few days.

On day one we had some amazing tours at The Met. Michael Millican, the newish IPM coordinator and Eric Breitung took us on amazing tours behind the scenes (and in the galleries). These were obviously tours with a difference, showing us problem areas and IPM challenges (which I’m sure we could all relate to). In the brand-new British exhibition Eric showed us all the exciting display cases with removable panels for cleaning, visitors to the exhibition were a little perplexed, as we all got down on the floor to have a look!

Michael then took us on a whirlwind tour of the back of house areas. This was so fascinating, and completely awe inspiring at how well Michael, who has been at The Met less than a year, knows the rabbit warren of a building and how he has grasped the major challenges he faces so quickly.

Day two started with the most amazing breakfast, kindly provided by The Met. After some interesting updates on the Stockholm IPM conference, News from the European and UK groups and an update on the Survey, we quickly got to talking about work. All the groups gathered, and we got to work.

Excitingly for the ID group, Tom Parker donated some discs of images, which they have been working through sorting and deciding which should go on the website. Watch this space for some new images which help everyone ID their pests better in the future.

The prevention and solutions groups have been working on terminology in existing policy documents and writing new protocols. In the Survey group we have been working to analyse the results of the survey, which a whopping 374 of you responded to! (Many thanks on behalf of the survey group for taking the time to fill that in for us.) Armando Mendez and Pascal Querner have been working on translations of the website, Spanish and German respectively. Watch this space for that update.

In the afternoon we had interesting presentations from Eric on O2 Analysers. Licensing and guidelines from Lisa Goldberg, which was a bit perplexing for me as a Brit. Then a great presentation from Tom Parker on Moths and Beetles which provided some light relief.

After a final work session Day two came to an end.

Day three started with an excellent presentation on IPM at The Met from Michael and IPM policies in Hostoric house msueums from Emma Ziraldo. The key message of Emma’s talk was that sometimes you need to be pragmatic and realistic with what you can achieve sometimes. Following this was a lovely presentation to remember Bob Childs who sadly died last year, from Pat Kelley.

On behalf of the whole group I would like to thank Michael and Eric and The Metropolitan Museum of Art for their fantastic hospitality.

*The animal in question was once a bat. Tom estimated that this was around 18 months old and that in another 18 months it would be skeletonised.



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