Botany Applied To Cultural Heritage
LABORATORY OF SOIL AND APPLIED MYCOLOGY
For the propose of the Cultural Heritage conservation, in-situ and ex-situ researches are carried out, aiming to identify the main biodeteriogenous agents (lichens, algae, fungi, bacteria, cyanobacteria).
I am Head of the Section of Botany Applied to Cultural Heritages of the Laboratory of Soil and Applied Mycology; responsible of researches related to identify the biodeteriogen agents of cultural heritage, within the Regione Lazio's Cultural Heritage Technological District (link)
The main research activities concern:
the evaluation of the main component of biological patinas and the possible effects of their presence and interaction with the substrate;
not invasive collection of biological samples, using adhesive transparent strips or sterilized tampons, and both quantitative and qualitative analyses of the microbial components, by isolation on cultural media;
morphological and molecular identification of the main agents responsible of aesthetic and structural alterations, with a focus on black meristematic fungi, which among the most dangerous microorganisms of outdoor stone surfaces;
study of the influence of environmental factors on deteriogenous processes and of the methods to prevent them;
evaluation of the substrate susceptibility to the biological alteration, on the base of the nutritional preferences of the isolated organisms;
evaluation of the air microbial component in closed environment by sedimentation (passive method);
molecular characterization of complex fungal and bacterial communities using a metagenomic approach, followed by the bioinformatic analysis of the data, compared with both environmental and chemical-physical characteristics of the substrate;
tolerance ability of the deteriogenous agents, by ex-situ and in-situ tests against the biocides of common use or of new generation, safer for operators and the environment, aimed to better select those to use for restoration and consolidation practices.
tests of the treatment's effectiveness by in-situ long time monitoring of the presence/absence of biological patinas and their survival and viability.
Results of the research activity are presented in national and international congresses and published on scientific relevant journals in the field of Cultural Heritages
All the activities carried out within the laboratory are discussed and planned in collaboration with colleagues working in the Cultural Heritages field, as art historians, curators and restorers.