The colonisation of stone by different organisms often leaves biodeterioration patterns (BPs) on the surfaces even if their presence is no longer detectable. Peculiar weathering patterns on monuments and rocks, such as pitting phenomena, were recognised as a source of information on past colonisers and environmental conditions. The evident inhibition areas for new bio-patinas observed on the marble blocks of the Caestia Pyramid in Rome, recognisable as tracks of previous colonisations, seem a source for developing new natural products suitable for restoration activities. To hypothesise past occurring communities and species, which gave rise to such BPs, we carried out both in situ observations and analyses of the rich historical available iconography (mainly photographs). Moreover, we analysed literature on the lichen species colonising carbonate stones used in Roman sites. Considering morphology, biochemical properties and historical data on 90 lichen species already reported in Latium archaeological sites, we suppose lichen species belonging to the genus Circinaria (Aspicilia s.l.) to be the main aetiological agent of such peculiar BPs. These results seem relevant to highlight the long-lasting allelopathic properties of some lichen substances potentially applicable as a natural product to control colonisation, improving the environmental and economical sustainability of stone restoration.
Caneva, G., Fidanza, M.R., Tonon, C., Favero-Longo, S.E. (2020). Biodeterioration Patterns and Their Interpretation for Potential Applications to Stone Conservation: A Hypothesis from Allelopathic Inhibitory Effects of Lichens on the Caestia Pyramid (Rome). SUSTAINABILITY, 12(3), 1132 [10.3390/su12031132].