Protection and consolidation of stone heritage by self-inoculation with indigenous carbonatogenic bacterial communities.

Nature communications

PubMedID: 28819098

Jroundi F, Schiro M, Ruiz-Agudo E, Elert K, Martín-Sánchez I, González-Muñoz MT, Rodriguez-Navarro C. Protection and consolidation of stone heritage by self-inoculation with indigenous carbonatogenic bacterial communities. Nat Commun. 2017;8(1):279.
Enhanced salt weathering resulting from global warming and increasing environmental pollution is endangering the survival of stone monuments and artworks. To mitigate the effects of these deleterious processes, numerous conservation treatments have been applied that, however, show limited efficacy. Here we present a novel, environmentally friendly, bacterial self-inoculation approach for the conservation of stone, based on the isolation of an indigenous community of carbonatogenic bacteria from salt damaged stone, followed by their culture and re-application back onto the same stone. This method results in an effective consolidation and protection due to the formation of an abundant and exceptionally strong hybrid cement consisting of nanostructured bacterial CaCO3 and bacterially derived organics, and the passivating effect of bacterial exopolymeric substances (EPS) covering the substrate. The fact that the isolated and identified bacterial community is common to many stone artworks may enable worldwide application of this novel conservation methodology. Salt weathering enhanced by global warming and environmental pollution is increasingly threatening stone monuments and artworks. Here, the authors present a bacterial self-inoculation approach with indigenous carbonatogenic bacteria and find that this technique consolidates and protects salt damaged stone.