Episode Summary

Bacteria help gently clean residue off artworks painted on stone!

Microbe of the episode

Microbe of the episode: Cellulophaga virus Cba171

Jesse's takeaways

More and more cleaning products these days contain an ingredient called "enzymes." These are proteins that break down contaminants biologically instead of just removing them chemically, in a targeted manner.

In a similar approach, this study explores applying bacteria directly to classic artwork painted directly on stone, to clean up residues on the surface. These bacteria can produce enzymes on site and degrade the contaminants while leaving the underlying paint intact.

Journal Paper

Ranalli G, Zanardini E, Rampazzi L, Corti C, Andreotti A, Colombini MP, Bosch‐Roig P, Lustrato G, Giantomassi C, Zari D, Virilli P. 2019. Onsite advanced biocleaning system on historical wall paintings using new agar-gauze bacteria gel. J Appl Microbiol 126:1785–1796.

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