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Coatings 2019, 9(2), 104;

Biocleaning to Remove Graffiti: A Real Possibility? Advances towards a Complete Protocol of Action

Departamento de Edafoloxía e Química Agrícola. Facultade de Farmacia, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Instituto de restauración del Patrimonio, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 23 January 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 8 February 2019
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The first academic studies on the use of microorganisms in cleaning procedures appeared in the late 1980s/early 1990s. In the past thirty years, most of such studies have addressed the removal of nitrate and sulphate salts and organic matter from surfaces by using non-pathogenic anaerobic microorganisms, mainly sulphate-reducing bacteria. The successful use of microbes in the removal of graffiti paint remains, however, a work in progress. Biocleaning surfaces to remove graffiti is not a simple task, because of the complex chemical composition of graffiti paints. This study looks at ways of improving the bioremoval of graffiti and presents the latest findings regarding different methodological aspects of cleaning natural and man-made stone. Granite and concrete substrates were coated with silver and black graffiti spray paints for comparison of the efficacy of the biocleaning method on these different materials. Visual and microscopic examination along with colour and infrared measurements made after application of the bacterial strains tested (previously shown to be suitable candidates for bioremoval of graffiti) revealed remarkably successful results. The findings presented thus represent progress in the development of a biocleaning protocol applicable to the in-situ removal of graffiti. Important improvements have been made regarding the time of treatment, which has been reduced by up to 20 days, and the use of a culture medium enriched with powdered graffiti, which facilitates and accelerates the adaptation of the microorganisms to the target surface. View Full-Text
Keywords: biocleaning; cultural heritage; microorganisms; novel methods; graffiti spray paint; stone biocleaning; cultural heritage; microorganisms; novel methods; graffiti spray paint; stone

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Sanmartín, P.; Bosch-Roig, P. Biocleaning to Remove Graffiti: A Real Possibility? Advances towards a Complete Protocol of Action. Coatings 2019, 9, 104.

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