International Microbiology, Vol 8, No 3 (2005)

Application of molecular nucleic acid-based techniques for the study of microbial communities in monuments and artworks

Juan M. González, Cesáreo Saiz-Jiménez


Microorganisms play critical roles in every kind of habitat on Earth, including those constructed by humans. Thus, our cultural heritage is affected by microbial colonization. While classical microbiological methods based on culturing procedures have provided important, but limited information on the microbial diversity of natural samples, novel molecular techniques have been extremely valuable in unraveling the diversity of microbiota involved in the biodeterioration of our monuments and artworks. The knowledge gained from these approaches has allowed the design of strategies for conserving and protecting monuments for the benefit of future generations. This review describes the state-of-the-art of the application of molecular methods to the analysis of cultural assets, and provides nearfuture perspectives on the subject. [Int Microbiol 2005; 8(3):189-194]

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