Primary bioreceptivity of limestones used in southern European monuments
Ana Z. Miller, Nuno Leal, Leonila Laiz, Miguel A. Rogerio-Candelera, Rui J. C. Silva, Amélia Dionísio, Maria F. Macedo, Cesareo Saiz-Jimenez, 2010. "Primary bioreceptivity of limestones used in southern European monuments", Limestone in the Built Environment: Present-Day Challenges for the Preservation of the Past, B. J. Smith, M. Gomez-Heras, H. A. Viles, J. Cassar
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Different Mediterranean Basin limestones, like Calcário Ançã (Portugal), Calcário Lioz (Portugal), Piedra San Cristobal (Spain), Piedra Escúzar (Spain) and Pietra di Lecce (Italy), have been widely used as building materials in the European architecture. The aim of this study was focused on biodeterioration, mainly on evaluation of the primary bioreceptivity of those materials. A set of samples was inoculated with a cultured photosynthetic biofilm under laboratory conditions. Several assessment tools were applied to monitor the colonization overtime of the different lithotypes. After 3 months of incubation the colonization occurred endolithically in some lithotypes, namely Piedra San Cristobal and Piedra Escúzar. Spectrophotometric determination of chlorophyll a was a useful analytical technique to achieve the total amount of photosynthetic biomass on rock substrates, demonstrating that Piedra Escúzar and Calcário Lioz were the highest and lowest bioreceptive lithotypes, respectively. Microscopic and image analyses were essential to understand the stone colonization process and its pattern of distribution. Physical stone parameters and exposure conditions were shown to play an important role in the establishment and development of photosynthetic colonization.
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Limestone is a highly successful and widely used building material, found in many important historic buildings and new monuments around the world. Whilst its success reflects its durability under a wide range of environmental conditions, there are still important questions surrounding the selection, use and conservation of building limestones. In order to make best use of new limestone today, and to conserve old limestone most effectively, we need to bring modern research methods to bear on understanding the characteristics of different limestones, what mortars to use, and how key limestones have responded to polluted atmospheres. This volume brings together recent inter-disciplinary research on these issues, illustrating the diversity of innovative techniques that are now being applied to furthering our understanding of building limestones.