PhD Student

PhD program:: XXXVII
building: CU026
room: 18

tutor: Teresa Rinaldi


WORK EXPERIENCE January 2022 – until now Sapienza University, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome Earth Science Department PhD The use of bacteria for the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage. Study and development of new green techniques. February 2021 – December 2021 Ca’ Foscari University, Dorsoduro 3246, 30123 Venice Dais Department Scholarship Development of methods for the analysis of emerging contaminants in water from the Venice lagoon. Analysis of nanoparticles in biological samples. Use of analytical techniques such as UHPLC-MS, ICP-MS, GC-MS, masterszer, DLS and analytical centrifuge. EDUCATION September 2017 – March 2020 Ca’ Foscari University, Dorsoduro 3246, 30123 Venice Master’s degree in Conservation Science and Technology for cultural Heritage (LM-11) Title thesis: An insight into ion migration process in commercial oil paint system 110/ 110 e lode September 2014 – October 2017 Ca’ Foscari University, Dorsoduro 3246, 30123 Venice Bachelor’s degree in Tecnologie per la conservazione ed il restauro (L-43) Title thesis: Study of the colorimetric and spectral behaviour of cobalt-blue pigment mixtures in UV-VIS reflectance 108/110 PhD Project THE USE OF BACTERIA FOR THE CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE. Study and development of new green techniques Recently, in the search of alternative restoration methods, microorganisms have been adopted as “restorative agents” thanks to their several properties. Bio-restoration refers to the use of innovative techniques that employ metabolic products of microorganisms present on the substrate. These new methods are sustainable alternatives since: 1) they exploit natural microbial processes; 2) non-pathogenic microorganisms are selected, which are safe to use and have no recognised hazard potential; 3) environmental safety is ensured as no hazardous waste or emissions are produced; 4) soft interventions are implemented on the artworks; 5) the cost is lower or comparable to traditional methods. Commonly used restoration techniques do not follow standardised protocols and often require the use of solvents and other mixtures of chemicals, including biocides. These characteristics mean that a comprehensive risk assessment for the operator, the final user and the environment is difficult. Therefore, the current prerogative must be to develop products and methodologies that reflect the overall concept of sustainability 2. Soffritti et al. report an accurate up-date on the most innovative techniques using microorganisms for bio-restoration from bio-consolidation to bio-cleaning. These technologies are considered to be efficient alternatives to traditional restoration methods testify by the numerous examples present in literature. However, further research and continuous monitoring of the works of art are needed to validate the effectiveness of the bio-processes over time and to verify the total safety of these methods. For example, calcite-based materials are subject to various degradation phenomena, and the factors that determine their deterioration can be chemical, physical and biological. Biological damage is caused by microbial communities (algae, cyanobacteria, fungi, lichens and bacteria) that grow on stone surfaces and corrode the carbonate substrate. One of the approaches used in this field, bio-consolidation, is based on the process of bio-mineralisation. This technique exploits the ability of certain bacteria to precipitate calcium carbonate by passive or active mechanisms when they are inoculated onto certain stone surfaces in controlled environments to achieve re-calcification of degraded substrates. This inverts the deterioration of the limestone matrix of works of art, which is mainly influenced by the natural weathering process and climatic-environmental conditions. To mitigate the effects of these degradation processes, however, it is necessary to know the biological causes of these phenomena and the microbial composition associated with the biological damage. The study of the bacterial-substrate metabolic interaction on ancient artefacts is rarely studied in detail, yet it is at the origin of degradation itself. Moreover, this study allows the selection of bacterial species with specific qualities that allow their use in the bio-restoration. Once the nature of the biological degradation is known, it is necessary to work on it with suitable tools and methods. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES General objectives Development of new green and innovative methods and products for the restoration and conservation of cultural heritage, based on the use of biological organisms. Development of green methodologies and application on some artefacts of historical and artistic interest. Specific objectives Study of altered substrates using physic-chemical techniques. Study of the microbial communities (bacteria and lichens) present on the substrates that cause chemical-physical and biological degradation. Identification of the biological communities present on the material and the relationship between colonisation and degradation. Development of new analytical methods for studying microbial communities (HPLC-MS). Identification and isolation of bacteria able to precipitate calcium carbonate. Development of new biological methods for bio-consolidation and bio-cleaning of lichens on carbonate substrates. Development of new enzyme-based methods for the bio-cleaning of various media of historical and artistic relevance. Testing the validity of the newly developed methods by performing ageing tests. IMPLICATIONS AND/OR APPLICATIONS The current project will be used as reference to underline the potential of the use of bacteria for conservation and restoration treatments. The exhaustive study will be able to clarify the theoretical approach which remains fragmentated and unsystematic. Furthermore, it will deepen the knowledge of the parameters that regulate the action of bacteria and enzyme in the specific case of artistic surfaces. MILESTONES New treatments will be developed and improved to clean, protect and consolidate works of art in a sustainable and green way, ensuring solid safety for the environment, for operators and for the works of art themselves. Guidelines will also be defined for the study and implementation of conservation measures applicable to each artefact, considering its different characteristics.

Research products

  • 11573/1641014 - 2021 - A Critical Review on the Analysis of Metal Soaps in Oil Paintings (01g Articolo di rassegna (Review))

© Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" - Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma