The Iron Gall Ink Website

Phytate - An answer with new questions

The calcium-phytate / calcium-bicarbonate method was first suggested for treating ink-corroded manuscripts by Neevel in 1995. Still, conservators feel uncertain to apply this treatment method. Typical questions arising are: Can I prepare the treatment solutions in my workshop? Where can I purchase the necessary chemicals? What is the precise sequence of treatment steps?



The aim of this chapter is to provide paper conservators with all information that is necessary to treat ink-corroded objects with the phytate method.


Since 1995, several international projects focussed on the efficiency and the side–effects of this method (Kolar et al. 2005, Kolbe 2004, Tse et al., 2005, Zappala and De Stefani 2005, Botti et al. 2005, Hofmann et al. 2004, Jembrih-Simbürger et al. 2004, Reissland and de Groot 1999). All studies agree that the calcium-phytate / calcium-bicarbonate method is an effective aqueous method to prolong the life-time of ink corroded objects with minimal side effects.