Reproducing stone monument photosynthetic-based colonization under laboratory conditions

Ana Zélia Miller, L. Laiz, Maria Filomena Meireles Abrantes de Macedo Dinis, Juan M. González, Amélia Dionísio, C. Saiz-Jimenez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


In order to understand the biodeterioration process occurring on stone monuments, we analyzed the microbial communities involved in these processes and studied their ability to colonize stones under controlled laboratory experiments. In this study, a natural green biofilm from a limestone monument was cultivated, inoculated on stone probes of the same lithotype and incubated in a laboratory chamber. This incubation system, which exposes stone samples to intermittently sprinkling water, allowed the development of photosynthetic biofilms similar to those occurring on stone monuments. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis was used to evaluate the major microbial components of the laboratory biofilms. Cyanobacteria, green microalgae, bacteria and fungi were identified by DNA-based molecular analysis targeting the 16S and 18S ribosomal RNA genes. The natural green biofilm was mainly composed by the Chlorophyta Chlorella, Stichococcus, and Trebouxia, and by Cyanobacteria belonging to the genera Leptolyngbya and Pleurocapsa. A number of bacteria belonging to Alphaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Verrucomicrobia were identified, as well as fungi from the Ascomycota. The laboratory colonization experiment on stone probes showed a colonization pattern similar to that occurring on stone monuments. The methodology described in this paper allowed to reproduce a colonization equivalent to the natural biodeteriorating process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-285
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • Biodeterioration
  • Colonization experiment
  • Laboratory chamber
  • Limestone
  • phototrophic microorganisms


Dive into the research topics of 'Reproducing stone monument photosynthetic-based colonization under laboratory conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this