Open Access Review

Microbially induced deterioration of architectural heritages: routes and mechanisms involved

Tikam Chand Dakal1 and Swaranjit Singh Cameotra2*

Author Affiliations

1 Present Address of TCD: University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy

2 Institute of Microbial Technology, Sector 39A, Chandigarh, India

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Environmental Sciences Europe 2012, 24:36  doi:10.1186/2190-4715-24-36

Published: 25 November 2012

Abstract

Since ancient time, magnificence and beauty have been the goals of architecture. Artists and architects used high strength, durable and beautiful stones like marble and limestone for the construction of monuments like Taj Mahal, Milan Cathedral, Roman Catacombs and Necropolis in Rome etc. These historic monuments are exposed to open air which allows the invading army of algae, cyanobacteria, fungi etc. to easily access them. The invasion of microorganisms and their subsequent interaction with mineral matrix of the stone substrate under varied environment conditions fosters deterioration of stones by multiple mechanisms resulting in loss of strength, durability, and aesthetic appearance. The review details about the major routes and mechanisms which led to biodeterioration, discusses current remedial methodologies and suggests future directions.

Keywords:
Biodeterioration; Architectural heritage; Biocorrosion; Biofilm formation; Encrustation