Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Biodeterioration Related Abstracts

2 Study on Biodeterioration of Proteinous Objects in Museums and Toxic Efficacy of Myristica Fragrans and Syzygium Aromaticum Oils against the Larvae of Anthrenus verbasci

Authors: Fatma Faheem, K. Abduraheem


Museums are custodians of natural and cultural heritage. Objects like tribal dresses, headgears, weapons, musical instruments, manuscripts and other ethnocultural materials housed in museums are prized possessions of intellectual and cultural property of people. Tropical countries like India have a favorable climatic condition for biodeterioration. Organic materials such as leather and parchment objects which form a substantial part of natural history collections of museums across the world are promptly infested by insects like dermestid beetles, tenebrionides, silver fishes, cockroaches and other micro-organisms. The environmental problems caused due to the overuse of pesticides and other non-degradable chemicals have been the matter of serious concern for both the scientists and public in recent years. Synthetic pesticides are very expensive and also highly toxic for humans and its environment. Due to its high health risk factor government has taken severe initiatives on policy of banning it. In order to overcome the problems of biodeterioration, natural biocides should be applied. In this paper, comparative study has been done to investigate the toxic efficacy of Myristica fragrans and Syzygium aromaticum oil in variation with contact and stomach toxicity against larvae of Anthrenus verbasci.

Keywords: Cultural Heritage, Natural Heritage, Biodeterioration, contact toxicity, natural biocides, stomach toxicity

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1 Purple Spots on Historical Parchments: Confirming the Microbial Succession at the Basis of Biodeterioration

Authors: N. Perini, M. C. Thaller, F. Mercuri, S. Orlanducci, A. Rubechini, L. Migliore


The preservation of cultural heritage is one of the major challenges of today’s society, because of the fundamental right of future generations to inherit it as the continuity with their historical and cultural identity. Parchments, consisting of a semi-solid matrix of collagen produced from animal skin (i.e., sheep or goats), are a significant part of the cultural heritage, being used as writing material for many centuries. Due to their animal origin, parchments easily undergo biodeterioration. The most common biological damage is characterized by isolated or coalescent purple spots that often leads to the detachment of the superficial layer and the loss of the written historical content of the document. Although many parchments with the same biodegradative features were analyzed, no common causative agent has been found so far. Very recently, a study was performed on a purple-damaged parchment roll dated back 1244 A.D, the A.A. Arm. I-XVIII 3328, belonging to the oldest collection of the Vatican Secret Archive (Fondo 'Archivum Arcis'), by comparing uncolored undamaged and purple damaged areas of the same document. As a whole, the study gave interesting results to hypothesize a model of biodeterioration, consisting of a microbial succession acting in two main phases: the first one, common to all the damaged parchments, is characterized by halophilic and halotolerant bacteria fostered by the salty environment within the parchment maybe induced by bringing of the hides; the second one, changing with the individual history of each parchment, determines the identity of its colonizers. The design of this model was pivotal to this study, performed by different labs of the Tor Vergata University (Rome, Italy), in collaboration with the Vatican Secret Archive. Three documents, belonging to a collection of dramatically damaged parchments archived as 'Faldone Patrizi A 19' (dated back XVII century A.D.), were analyzed through a multidisciplinary approach, including three updated technologies: (i) Next Generation Sequencing (NGS, Illumina) to describe the microbial communities colonizing the damaged and undamaged areas, (ii) RAMAN spectroscopy to analyze the purple pigments, (iii) Light Transmitted Analysis (LTA) to evaluate the kind and entity of the damage to native collagen. The metagenomic analysis obtained from NGS revealed DNA sequences belonging to Halobacterium salinarum mainly in the undamaged areas. RAMAN spectroscopy detected pigments within the purple spots, mainly bacteriorhodopsine/rhodopsin-like pigments, a purple transmembrane protein containing retinal and present in Halobacteria. The LTA technique revealed extremely damaged collagen structures in both damaged and undamaged areas of the parchments. In the light of these data, the study represents a first confirmation of the microbial succession model described above. The demonstration of this model is pivotal to start any possible new restoration strategy to bring back historical parchments to their original beauty, but also to open opportunities for intervention on a huge amount of documents.

Keywords: Biodeterioration, parchments, purple spots, ecological succession

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