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Chemical aspects of biodeterioration of cultural heritage mineral substrates: rock art and historical buildings

Grant number: 12/05356-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2012
Effective date (End): July 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Principal researcher:Dalva Lucia Araujo de Faria
Grantee:Alejandra Teresa Fazio
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Biodeterioration is a phenomenon that puts under risk the cultural heritage all over the world and the materials affected by infestations are not restricted to organic compounds but also includes polymers, glasses, metals and inorganic substrata, such as concrete and stones. With regards to inorganic substrata, biodeterioration is an active factor in mineral weathering and neogenesis. In the case of rock paintings, for example, the pigments composition and crystallinity are used to obtain informations on practices of ancient cultures, such as raw materials processing, trade routes etc. Taking into account that microorganisms may change the materials properties, it is important to understand how their vital cycles and metabolism affect the substrata and how determinant factors such as nutrients and environmental parameters (temperature, relative humidity, illumination and pollutants) interfere in this process. Similarly, historical buildings and stone works (i.e., sculptures) are also affected by microorganisms colonizations, eventually leading to surface disfiguration through physical or chemical damage caused by the organisms or the by the chemicals they release. The objectives of this Research Project are the investigation, using spectroscopic and chromatographic methods, of the chemical influence of microorganisms (bacterias, algae, fungi and lichens) on the inorganic substrata of rock paintings and historical buildings in locations with different degrees of urbanization; the search of chemical signatures for such action is also a goal in this investigation. Microorganisms identification will be carried out using molecular biology (metagenomics) and a comparative study with classical culture methods will be performed.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
FAZIO, ALEJANDRA T.; CAVICCHIOLI, ANDREA; PENNA, DAYSI S. A.; CHAMBERGO, FELIPE S.; DE FARIA, DALVA L. A.. Towards a better comprehension of biodeterioration in earthen architecture: Study of fungi colonisation on historic wall surfaces in Brazil. JOURNAL OF CULTURAL HERITAGE, v. 16, n. 6, p. 934-938, . (12/13119-3, 12/05356-5)
FAZIO, ALEJANDRA T.; LOPEZ, MONICA MAMIAN; TEMPERINI, MARCIA L. A.; DE FARIA, DALVA LUCIA A.. Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy and cultural heritage biodeterioration: Fungi identification in earthen architecture from Paraiba Valley (Sao Paulo, Brazil). VIBRATIONAL SPECTROSCOPY, v. 97, p. 129-134, . (14/07841-3, 12/13119-3, 12/05356-5)

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