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Atmospheric Eutrophication and Saecular Organic Pollution (Biological and Mineralogical Reactions of Mediterranean Monuments


1. To examine the mineralogical surface changes of selected monuments under mineral eutrophication and organic pollution stress using normal and coal petrographic techniques.
2. To examine the associated microflores on two monument areas in the Mediterranean as related to atmospheric eutrophication (inorganic and organic food sources and nutrients for microbiota) and to organic and inorganic pollution. (airborne detrimental substances for objects and organisms).
3. To extract small rock samples and analyses them for inorganic eutrophicating actions and cations and to analyze for organic eutrophicating substances using, IR-Spectroscopy and GC-MS. To interpret the EPR spectra for complex molecules as well as for the origin of the marbles analysed (Mn fingerprint).
4. To compare historical reports, museum objects and monuments from the same classical sites (Archeometry).
5. To make optical analyses of sculptures in order to establish clear guidelines for the identification of biogenic weathering traces. This can help in the clarification of authenticity and/or age of a sculpture.
6. An important side aspect of the project will be the comparison of locatl (non-treated) quarries with (treated?) objects and objects that have been taken our of the environent risk by transfer to the museum atmosphere more than 100 years ago.

The project focusses on the physical and biological interaction of physical and chemical eutrophicating factors with rock surfaces, the question whether the organic content and the organically derived minerals of rock surfaces are a consequence of treatment or eutrophication related growth of biofilms and microbial ecosystems over larger periods of time. The main technical and innovative aspects of the project are the study of the influence or organic and inorganic eutrophication on the development and biodeteriorative activity of the chemoorganotrophic rock flora, the application of coal petrographic techniques (maceration +fluroescence micorscopy) to monument research, the simulation of UV-irradiation and its effects on colour change and patination and the application of non-destructive optical, physical-chemical and microbiological techniqes to valuble monuments and museum objects. The project will analyse:

1. The receptivity of architectural surfaces to organic eutrophication and inorganic pollutants will be studied in various ways.
2. Two monuments and monuments areas (Tarragona Cathedral, Messina Museum garden) as well as related quarries (calcarenite of Noto, Sicily and marbel of Carrara) and monuments from museums (indoor) will be taken as examples.
3. The surface areas and surface changes will be screened using non-destructive techniques as well as techniques that necessitate a minimal sample size.
4. The organisms causing esthetical and physically damaging effects (mainly fungi) will be isolated and tested in the laboratory.
5. The bioreceptivity of organically loaded rocks will be tested using laboratory simulations with rock material from quarries.
6. The petrographic characterization of the altered surfaces will be compared with the polluting and eutrophicating agents.
7. Identified organic loads will be used in the laboratory for simulations.
8. An archeometric model of surface changes will be derived from the data gained on monuments, quarries and museum materials. This model may also lead to techniques to analyze for forgeries and/or the identification of former (not recorded) treatments.

This project is in the nature of an expansion of an aspect of a currently funded project (EV5V-CT92-0112) to include a new type of stone. They are complementing each other in their work.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Ammerlaender Heerstrasse 114-118
26111 Oldenburg

Participants (2)

Salita Sperone 31 Villaggio S. Agata
98166 Santagata Messina
S/n,marti I Franques S/n
08028 Barcelona