Biotechnology applied to Cultural Heritage

People: Laura Bruno, Olga Rickards, Cristina Martinez-LabargaLuciana Migliore

  • Assessment and monitoring of the damage from deterioration due to the growth of phototrophic biofilms on frescoes, marble and plaster in archeological hypogea (Roman Catacombs) and on stone monuments (Hindu temples). Microbial diversity assessment by means of a polyphasic approach (LM, CLSM, ecophysiology, exopolymeric secretion characterization, molecular studies). Development of noninvasive and non-destructive techniques against biological colonization of confined environments. (Laura Bruno)
  • Extraction methods of DNA and protein from small amounts of tissue were used to obtain information on the genetic background (through the phylogeographic reconstruction of  mtDNA and Y chromosome haplotypes), the diet (by stable isotope analysis and palaeobotanical and palaeozoological studies) and migrations (through high resolution stable isotope analysis of biogenic trace elements preserved in enamel, in particular strontium isotopes 87Sr/86Sr) of the ancient human populations. These methods will be applied to different fields of the anthropological research –kinship and sex determination, geographical origin, degree of relationships with other ancient and extant populations, and identification of possible pathologies or genetic defects. (Olga Rickards, Cristina Martinez-Labarga)
  • Development of an integrated system to assess the biodeterioration of ancient parchments and to identify the model of parchment colonization and the effects on the parchment matrix, through a multidisciplinary approach which includes the metagenomic analysis of the parchment colonizers, the chemical analysis (Raman) of colonization pigment residues and Light Transmitted Analysis to identify the degree of collagen denaturation. (Luciana Migliore)