Artificial Illumination Using White or Green Light May Prevent Biofilm Formation on Artwork
By American Society for Microbiology
Apr 15, 2006, 18:41

Using white or green light to artificially illuminate artwork may prevent biofilm formation and surface deterioration, say researchers from Spain. They report their findings in the April 2006 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Inappropriate artificial illumination of archeological remains and interior works of art can result in the development of uncontrolled photosynthetic microorganisms which form biofilms and contribute to surface biodeterioration. Biofilms are best described as a cluster of microorganisms attached to either an inert or living surface. Current control efforts include cleaning damaged surfaces and chemical treatments, both of which have had little success at biofilm prevention.

Spectral ambient light can cause variations in pigment distribution enabling an abundance of cyanobacteria and microalgae. Researchers selected green light for testing as it has previously shown to slow growth and affect pigment composition. It also represents the maximum absorbance of human vision. In the study researchers exposed artificial biofilms formed by Gloeothece membranacea and Chlorella sorokiniana to green and white light and evaluated their potential for preventing biofilm growth. Observations made suggest that green light could prevent the growth of biofilms with the exception of those capable of modifying accessory pigments.

"Although laboratory data cannot be extrapolated to natural environments, our results have prompted studies of the application of green light to artificially illuminated works of art," say the researchers.

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