Bacterial Bio-Mediated Calcite Precipitation for Monumental Stones Conservation: Methods of Evaluation

J Microbiol Methods. 1999 May;36(1-2):139-45. doi: 10.1016/s0167-7012(99)00019-6.


The weathering of monumental stones is a complex process inserted in the more general 'matter transformation cycle' operated by physical, chemical and biological factors. The consequence of these combined actions is a loss of cohesion with dwindling and scaling of stone material and the induction of a progressive mineral matrix dissolution. In the case of calcareous stones, calcite leaching increases the material porosity and decreases its mechanical features with a general weakening of the superficial structural strength. Attempts to stop, or at least to slow down, deterioration of monumental stones has been made by conservative treatments with both inorganic or organic products. More recent studies show a new approach to hinder these phenomena by inducing a bio-mediated precipitation of calcite directly inside the stone porosity. This can be achieved either through the application of organic matrix macromolecules extracted from sea shells or of living bacteria. The effectiveness of the treatment using calcinogenic bacteria has been evaluated with laboratory tests specifically developed to evaluate the parameters such as : porosity, superficial strength and chromatic changes, influenced by the treatment itself. The results obtained seem to indicate that this type of treatment might not be suitable for monumental stone conservation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Calcium Carbonate / metabolism*
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Sculpture*


  • Calcium Carbonate