Offbeat Poisonous books found in university library

09:32  09 july  2018
09:32  09 july  2018 Source:   news.sky.com

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Pic: University of Southern Denmark. Three rare books dating from the 16th and 17th centuries have been found by scientists to be covered in a deadly poison . The discovery in a university library has echoes of the novel and film The Name Of The Rose

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The volumes were subjected to X-ray analysis. Pic: University of Southern Denmark© Other The volumes were subjected to X-ray analysis. Pic: University of Southern Denmark

Three rare books dating from the 16th and 17th centuries have been found by scientists to be covered in a deadly poison.

The discovery in a university library has echoes of the novel and film The Name Of The Rose, which sees a string of monks in a 14th-century Italian monastery killed off by the toxic pages of a forbidden manuscript.

X-ray analysis of the books held by the University of Southern Denmark revealed a large concentration of arsenic on the covers.

The volumes were subjected to X-ray analysis. Pic: University of Southern Denmark© Getty The volumes were subjected to X-ray analysis. Pic: University of Southern Denmark The volumes were being studied because it had previously been discovered that mediaeval manuscript fragments had been used by bookbinders to make their covers.

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One of three poisonous books found in a University of Southern Denmark library . Image: Jakob Povl Holck and Kaare Lund Rasmussen. Something is toxic in the state of Denmark, as a pair of researchers recently discovered while archiving books at a university library .

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark found three books in their library that were covered in arsenic. The library is storing the poisonous volumes in separate cardboard boxes with safety labels in a ventilated cabinet, according to Rasmussen and Holck.

In attempting to identify the Latin texts used, researchers found they were hard to read because of a heavy layer of green paint obscuring the letters.

The study of this green pigment layer revealed it to be arsenic - one of the most toxic substances in the world.

Kaare Lund Rasmussen, an associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark, told Fox News: "The moment we put the X-ray beam on the green surface we saw the fantastic high amounts of arsenic."

It is likely that it was applied to the books to protect them against insects and vermin.

The three volumes are now stored with safety labels in a ventilated cabinet.

It is planned to digitise the content to reduce the handling of the books.

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