Existing chemical treatments to prevent biological damage to monuments often involve considerable amounts of potentially dangerous and even poisonous biocides. The scientific approach described in this paper aims at a drastic reduction in the concentration of biocide applications by a polyphasic approach of biocides combined with cell permeabilisers, polysaccharide and pigment inhibitors and a photodynamic treatment. A variety of potential agents were screened to determine the most effective combination. Promising compounds were tested under laboratory conditions with cultures of rock deteriorating bacteria, algae, cyanobacteria and fungi. A subsequent field trial involved two sandstone types with natural biofilms. These were treated with multiple combinations of chemicals and exposed to three different climatic conditions. Although treatments proved successful in the laboratory, field trials were inconclusive and further testing will be required to determine the most effective treatment regime. While the most effective combination of chemicals and their application methodology is still being optimised, results to date indicate that this is a promising and effective treatment for the control of a wide variety of potentially damaging organisms colonising stone substrates.
- cultural heritage
- photodynamic agent