University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) - Research portal

Logo BOKU Resarch Portal

Selected Publication:

Sterflinger, K; Piar, G.
(2013): Microbial deterioration of cultural heritage and works of art - tilting at windmills?
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2013; 97(22):9637-9646 FullText FullText_BOKU

Microorganisms (bacteria, archaea and fungi), in addition to lichens and insect pests, cause problems in the conservation of cultural heritage because of their biodeteriorative potential. This holds true for all types of historic artefacts, and even for art made of modern materials, in public buildings, museums and private art collections. The variety of biodeterioration phenomena observed on materials of cultural heritage is determined by several factors, such as the chemical composition and nature of the material itself, the climate and exposure of the object, in addition to the manner and frequency of surface cleaning and housekeeping in museums. This study offers a review of a variety of well-known biodeterioration phenomena observed on different materials, such as stone and building materials, objects exhibited in museums and libraries, as well as human remains and burial-related materials. The decontamination of infected artefacts, exhibition rooms and depots incurs high expenditure for museums. Nevertheless, the question has to be raised: whether the process of biodeterioration of cultural heritage can or should be stopped under all circumstances, or whether we have to accept it as a natural and an implicit consecution of its creation. This study also highlights critically the pros and cons of biocide treatments and gives some prominent examples of successful and unsuccessful conservation treatments. Furthermore, an outlook on the future research needs and developments in this highly interesting field is given.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Pinar Guadalupe
Sterflinger-Gleixner Katja

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Biodeterioration phenomena
Microbial communities

© BOKU Wien Imprint