Environment and Ecology Research Vol. 4(5), pp. 257 - 264
DOI: 10.13189/eer.2016.040504
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Fungi and Bacteria in Indoor Cultural Heritage Environments: Microbial-related Risks for Artworks and Human Health

Enza Di Carlo 1, Rosa Chisesi 1, Giovanna Barresi 1, Salvatore Barbaro 2, Giovanna Lombardo 1, Valentina Rotolo 1, Mauro Sebastianelli 3, Giovanni Travagliato 4, Franco Palla 1,*
1 Laboratory of Biology and Biotechnology for Cultural Heritage, Department STEBICEF, University of Palermo, Italy
2 Interdepartmental Centre CIRIAS, University of Palermo, Italy
3 Diocesan Museum of Palermo, Italy
4 Diocesan Historical Archive of Palermo, Italy


Cultural heritage constitutive materials can provide excellent substrates for microbial colonization, highly influenced by thermo-hygrometric parameters. In cultural heritage-related environments, a detrimental microbial load may be present both on manufacts surface and in the aerosol. In this study, bacterial and fungal colonisation has been investigated in three Sicilian confined environments (archive, cave and hypogea), each with peculiar structures and different thermo-hygrometric parameters. Particular attention has been paid to microorganisms able to induce artifacts biodeterioration and to release biological particles in the aerosol (spores, cellular debrides, toxins and allergens) potentially dangerous for the human health (visitors/users). Results provided information on the composition of the biological consortia, highlighting also the symbiotic relationships between micro (cyanobacteria, bacteria and fungi) and macro-organisms (plants, bryophyte and insects). The results of this integrated approach, including molecular biology techniques, are essential for a complete understanding of both microbial colonization of the cultural objects and the potential relationship with illness to human.

Aerobiology, Bioaerosol, Biodeterioration, Healthcare, Preventive Conservation

Cite this paper
Enza Di Carlo , Rosa Chisesi , Giovanna Barresi , Salvatore Barbaro , Giovanna Lombardo , Valentina Rotolo , Mauro Sebastianelli , Giovanni Travagliato , Franco Palla . "Fungi and Bacteria in Indoor Cultural Heritage Environments: Microbial-related Risks for Artworks and Human Health." Environment and Ecology Research 4.5 (2016) 257 - 264. doi: 10.13189/eer.2016.040504.