Small Collections Grant

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Insect control in Herbarium FER: equipment implementation for the ordinary decontamination method

Lisa Brancaleoni



Cost: $



University of Ferrara - Botanical Garden and Herbarium


The Herbarium of the University of Ferrara is a small Herbarium with ca. 18.000 exsiccata. The ancient collections date back to the end of XVIII-XIX sec. with more of 13.000 vascular plants in part ordered according to the sexual taxonomic system of Linneus. The accessions of modern Herbarium include ca. 6000 exsiccata coming from Italy and Europe, but also Brazil and South America. With this project we aim at improving the conservation status of the exsiccata. In particular, we point to more efficient prevention of infestation by implementing the deep freezing decontamination method.


We plan to meet our objective by implementing the freezer unit normally used to prevent damage by pests. The freezer will be a specialized unit capable of reaching -32°C, the preferred temperature to kill all stages of major pest species. This decontamination technique is effective, cheap and totally risk-free for operators. At the moment we have only one freezer (-32°C), about 15 years old, equipped with seven shelves. Especially, we do not have refrigerated cabins or air-conditioning devices. Only the ancient Herbaria are stored in cabins with air-tight doors. This method is supported also by pheromones traps used to monitor the presence of adult insects.


Every year, in autumn-winter, we carry out preventive disinfestation of bundles for 48 H, and also the new accessions are immediately conveyed to the freezer. We have ca. 350 bundles of exsiccata. Accordingly, this procedure takes more than 4 months only to accomplish insect contamination. The installation of the new freezer will considerably reduce the time of decontamination, from 4 to 2 months, every year.
Spring 2020: Purchase of the new freezer.
Spring 2020: Decontamination of the new accessions during the whole year.
October 2020: preventive decontamination of all exsiccata bundles.
November/Dicember 2020: end of preventive decontamination of all exsiccata bundles.

Referee 1:

Chiara Nepi

Referee 2:

Rossella Marcucci

Scoring Rubric

Your name:

Collection Improvement/Maintenance


1.  Contribution to the generation of digital herbarium data (digitization: data entry, setting up database structure, purchasing equipment).

2.  Contribution to enhancing our understanding of the flora by making new herbarium specimens available (processing of backlog).

3.  Contribution to enhancing our understanding of the flora by making new herbarium specimens available (shipping endangered collection to another herbarium).

4. Contribution towards improving conservation status of specimens in herbarium (better folders, protecting covers, mounting paper, labeling, etc.).

This proposal scores:


IAPT community building


5.  Herbarium's potential for success.

6.  Perceived need, extent to which the project will benefit from IAPT funding.
7. Sharing specimens with other herbaria.

This proposal scores:


Broader Impacts

8. The project will yield durable benefits (specimens, digitized metadata, databases, websites).

9. The proposed project involves outreach/mentoring and broad dissemination.

This proposal scores:


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