Sulfate reducing bacteria as bio-cleaning agents: Development of new methodologies and study cases

Annalisa Balloi, Emanuela Lombardi, Federica Troiano, Andrea Polo, Francesca Capitelli, Davide Gulotta, Lucia Toniolo, Anna Lucchini, Daniele Daffonchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In the last decades, the contribution of different scientifi c disciplines in the fi eld of restoration and conservation of cultural heritage to fi nding alternative methods of investigation that are even more effective and fully respect artworks, operators and environment, has greatly increased. An example is the University of Milan patent that provides for the use of some specialized bacteria as cleaning agents. This method, known as biocleaning, is based on the use of Desulfovibrio vulgaris, a sulfate reducing bacterium, for the removal of sulfate alterations from stone surfaces. Recently, the university spin-off Micro4yoU purchased the patent by initiating a series of investments aimed at enhancing the commercial product from prototype. The present work describes: the desulfation mechanism operated by Desulfovibrio vulgaris and the technological shift necessary to obtain a biological formulation usable in situ, with two practical case studies.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalConservation Science in Cultural Heritage
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to Alberto Gnesutta, descendant of the poetess Anna Zuccari and patron of the restoration work, and the Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici e Paesaggistici di Milano, Italy. For the work on the mural paintings of the Queen Theodolinda Chapel, the authors thank Gian Carlo Lanterna of OPD and Claudio Seccaroni, researcher at ENEA. A special thank you to Bresciani s.r.l. for the fi nancial support.


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