Melding the Old with the New: Trends in Methods Used to Identify, Monitor, and Control Microorganisms on Cultural Heritage Materials


Patricia Sanmartín, Alice DeAraujo & Archana Vasanthakumar
Microb Ecol


Microbial activity has an important impact on the maintenance of cultural heritage materials, owing to the key role of microorganisms in many deterioration processes. In order to minimize such deleterious effects, there is a need to fine-tune methods that detect and characterize microorganisms. Trends in microbiology indicate that this need can be met by incorporating modern techniques. All of the methods considered in this review paper are employed in the identification, surveillance, and control of microorganisms, and they have two points in common: They are currently used in microbial ecology (only literature from 2009 to 2015 is included), and they are often applied in the cultural heritage sector. More than 75 peer-reviewed journal articles addressing three different approaches were considered: molecular, sensory and morphological, and biocontrol methods. The goal of this review is to highlight the usefulness of the traditional as well as the modern methods. The general theme in the literature cited suggests using an integrated approach.