Algal and cyanobacterial biofilms on calcareous historic buildings.
ABSTRACT Major microorganisms in biofilms on external surfaces of historic buildings are algae, cyanobacteria, bacteria, and fungi. Their growth causes discoloration and degradation. We compared the phototrophs on cement-based renderings and limestone substrates at 14 historic locations (47 sites sampled) in Europe and Latin America. Most biofilms contained both cyanobacteria and algae. Single-celled and colonial cyanobacteria frequently constituted the major phototroph biomass on limestone monuments (32 sites sampled). Greater numbers of phototrophs, and especially of algae and of filamentous morphotypes, were found on cement-based renderings (15 sites), probably owing to the porosity and small pore size of the latter substrates, allowing greater entry and retention of water. All phototrophic groups were more frequent on Latin American than on European buildings (20 and 27 sites, respectively), with cyanobacteria and filamentous phototrophs showing the greatest differences. The results confirm the influence of both climate and substrate on phototroph colonization of historic buildings.
Article: Epilithic and endolithic bacterial communities in limestone from a Maya archaeological site.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Biodeterioration of archaeological sites and historic buildings is a major concern for conservators, archaeologists, and scientists involved in preservation of the world's cultural heritage. The Maya archaeological sites in southern Mexico, some of the most important cultural artifacts in the Western Hemisphere, are constructed of limestone. High temperature and humidity have resulted in substantial microbial growth on stone surfaces at many of the sites. Despite the porous nature of limestone and the common occurrence of endolithic microorganisms in many habitats, little is known about the microbial flora living inside the stone. We found a large endolithic bacterial community in limestone from the interior of the Maya archaeological site Ek' Balam. Analysis of 16S rDNA clones demonstrated disparate communities (endolithic: >80% Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, and Low GC Firmicutes; epilithic: >50% Proteobacteria). The presence of differing epilithic and endolithic bacterial communities may be a significant factor for conservation of stone cultural heritage materials and quantitative prediction of carbonate weathering.Microbial Ecology 01/2006; 51(1):51-64. · 2.91 Impact Factor