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Using bacteriea to restore ancient art

Biologists in Spain are aiding in the restoration of 17th century frescoes in a church by using bacteria to eat away the grime.

The Valencia team “trained” a strain of Pseudomonas bacteria to eat the saline build up, which was caused by liquid seeping through from pigeon nests behind the frescos. The crust was no only obscuring the frescos but loosening the paintwork.

Pilar Bosch, one of the biologists behind the restoration project, explains that the team also managed to create a gel for applying the bacteria in order to speed up the application process. “In Italy they use cotton wool to apply the micro-organisms. We, however, have developed a gel that acts on the surface, which prevents moisture from penetrating deep into the material and causing new problems.

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Story: Katie Scott, Wired | Photo: Wired

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