Pemberton, Briony; Nel, Petronella; "Identification of a white substance on 20th century leather bindings", AICCM Bulletin 31 (2008) 28-35PDF
The aims of this investigation were to identify a white substance visible on the spines of leather-bound volumes titled Victorian Law Reports and to address any issues of concern. Initially, it was thought that it was a mold outbreak. However, preliminary examination using visual and microscopic methods ruled this out. An analytical path involving environmental scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), microchemical spot testing, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy determined that the white substance was composed of one or more fatty acids and possibly their respective calcium salts. In addition, this investigation provides a review of the available literature and an analytical path for identifying white bloom on leather-bound volumes.