The assumption that time, weather, and pollution are what cause buildings to decline is only partly true.
Bacteria are also responsible for the ageing of buildings and monuments - a process known as biodeterioration, where organisms change the properties of materials through their vital activities. Leonila Laiz from the Institute for Natural Resources and Agrobiology in Seville, Spain, and colleagues have just isolated five new strains of bacteria that degrade old buildings.Their work1 is published online this week in Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften.
Over the last decade, both microbiologists and conservators have been studying the microbial colonization and biodeterioration of both mural paintings in ancient monuments and plaster walls in churches. A specific family of bacteria, Rubrobacter, is commonly found in aged monuments and is thought to be responsible for their rosy discoloration. Until now, only three Rubrobacter species have been identified, and they all thrive in high temperatures of 45 to 80 degrees Celsius (thermophilic bacteria).
Laiz and her team studied three indoor sites showing overt biodeterioration: the Servilia and Postumio tombs in the Roman Necropolis of Carmona in Spain and the Vilar de Frades church in Portugal. Their microbiological and molecular analyses identified five new Rubrobacter strains. The strains are partly involved in the process of efflorescence formation, where salt residues form on buildings, due to the loss of water after exposure to air for a prolonged period of time. Efflorescences lead to damage in the porous structure of the rocks and the gradual deterioration of these buildings.
Two of the newly isolated strains were then grown onto rocks to replicate the biodeterioration process in the laboratory. The Rubrobacter cells penetrated the mineral matrix and crystals formed in contact with the bacterial film. When the film separated from the rock surface after exposure to heat, it removed mineral grains, producing a mechanical deterioration. These three processes are characteristic of biodeterioration and confirm that the isolated bacteria are actively involved in the ageing of the studied buildings.
This study of new Rubrobacter that thrive at lower temperatures (non-thermophilic bacteria) gives another insight into the physiology and activity of these bacteria present in monuments.
Joan Robinson | alfa
A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
CWRU researchers find a chemical solution to shrink digital data storage
22.06.2017 | Case Western Reserve University
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.
New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
22.06.2017 | Life Sciences
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences