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Novel molecular tools for the analysis of unknown microbial communities ofm ural paintings and their implementation into the conservation/restaurationp ractice



The partners of this proposal of Research, Development and Application have formed an European team with the following goals:
(1) The application of the most advanced tools of molecular biology and biotechnology for an in depth analysis of the environmental risk related microbial communities endangering a set of most sensitive mural paintings in Europe.
(2) The detection and determination of hitherto uncultivable or undetected biodeteriorative taxa.
(3) To characterize these taxa by all available molecular tools. (4) To develop and apply new in situ hybridisation techniques and Polymerase chain reaction based probes for the material of mural paintings in order to control environmentally induced microbiological hazards and changes in the microflora after conservative treatments with a minimum of or no sampling at all.
(5) The mural paintings shall be treated by experienced conservators/restorator after the analysis by the molecular biologists and microbiologists. (6) The treatment success shall be evidenced and documented by the in situ application of the molecular probes and hybridisation techniques developed by the partners. The work will be effected on three different sites with extraordinary mural paintings. The paintings are very damaged and exposed to
(1) a very humid and constant internal climate in the case of the Necropolis of Servilia, Spain;
2) humidity rising in the walls of the castle of Herberstein in Austria and (3) to the Sea spray salt endangered Romanesque church of Pilsum in Frisia (Interregio between Holland and Germany) with valuable mural paintings erected 1266 by a Frisian tribal Chief (probably after a pilgrimage to Santiago di Compostela). A genetic data bank of biodeteriorative microorganisms will be established using modern sequencing techniques and relational data bank softwares (e. g. TREECON).The conservative treatment will involve the testing of the chemicals used for potential risks to the applicating restorer as well as the mural paintings themselves.
The project is a combined effort of 2 scientific research groups working mainly in the field of modern taxonomy and molecular biology, two scientific research groups working since many years in the field of analysis of the biodeterioration of cultural heritage, one major Mural Painting Restoration Company and two small companies working in the fields of biotechnology and molecular biology. Advice will be seeked and given by interaction with mural painting restoration curricula at three different universities.


Ammerlaender Heerstrasse 114-118
26111 Oldenburg

Participants (4)

10,Avenida Reina Mercedes 10
41012 Sevilla
Ochsenfarth Paderborn GmbH
33102 Paderborn
Universiteit Gent
35,K.l. Ledeganckstraat
9000 Gent
Universität Wien
9,Dr. Bohr-gasse
1030 Wien