Bio-Restoration of Art Works

The Art restoration processes use laser techniques and chemicals to remove oil, dirt, glue and pollutants from stone works, monuments and paintings. But after 1980s, they have been using microorganisms.

Microorganisms to remove dirt

Researchers first used Desulfovibrio vulgaris bacteria to clean a marble monument. The monument was obtained from Cave Hill Cemetery located in Louisville, US.

In 2013, the same Desulfovibrio vulgaris was used to recover the artwork called “Allegory of Death”. This was recovered from an English cemetery in Florence.

Florence Mysteries

The Florence city is located in Italy. It holds many masterpieces of renaissance. Several master art works in Florence were recovered using bacteria. They are as follows:

A researcher team in Florence washed away the dirt in the hair of a marble statue. This was done with the help of Pseudomonas stutzeri bacteria. The P stutzeri bacteria have been cleaning a range of monuments, granite slabs, historic bridges and chapel walls in Spain. It was also used to restore Church of Santos Juanes in Spain and Camposanto Monumentale in Italy. These monuments belong to 17th century. The P stutzeri bacteria was used clean the Triumph of Death fresco. This cemetery at Campo Santo was bombed during second world war.

Rhodococcus bacteria is used to clean the oil, casting mould and glue.

Working of the Bio restoration process

The cleaning of art works using microorganisms is done in different ways. This includes immersion of portable monuments in solutions with bacterial cells, using delivery mediums such as carbogel, sepiolite, cotton, hydrobiogel. Before applying to the monuments, these bacteria are grown in different media.

Grime Eating Bacteria

The bacteria used in the process of artwork restoration are called grim eating bacteria. The Archaeological Survey of India is looking for options to employ these bacteria to restore the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal suffers from discoloration due to pollution. Scientists believe that calcifying bacteria can be used on Taj.

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