home Journal club Art and microbiology meet again but not in the way you might have expected

Art and microbiology meet again but not in the way you might have expected

Well, I have always told people that we need more mixing of art and science.  In recent years we have seen lots of attempts to do some sort of art inspired by – or even incorporating – microbes.  But this is perhaps the other side of the coin.  Art is significantly influenced by microbes in various ways and this paper is trying to get at whether the microbial community on art plays a role in its deterioration.  Worth a look. PLOS ONE: Contribution of the Microbial Communities Detected on an Oil Painting on Canvas to Its Biodeterioration.

Image by Mlaoxve [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Image by Mlaoxve [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One thought on “Art and microbiology meet again but not in the way you might have expected

  1. The ability of microbes to deteriorate art is certainly nothing new, with literature dating back to the 1940s. Other instances of biodeterioration of artwork are fungal infestations of the famous cave paintings in Lascaux (and the less well-known fumbling of the French governments response), deterioration of stone artwork by acidogenic bacteria, a topic which has the attention of several labs in Italy, and the more commonly known fungal deterioration of literature – the effect known as “foxing”. Summary reviews of these topics can be found on the website of the Socitey for Applied Microbiology, including others on different aspects of biodeterioration – all certainly within the purview of “the built environment”.

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