Biodeterioration patterns found in dammar resin used as art material
María del Mar López-Miras
José Miguel Ramos-López
Financial support: This study was supported by the National Spanish Project “I+D+I MCYT” CTQ2005-09339-C03-03.
Keywords: bacteria, biodeterioration, dammar, fungi, GC-MS.
Since the middle of the XIX century, when dammar became popular in Occident, this natural resin is one of the most used in art painting techniques as final protective coating (varnish) as well as a component of pictorial media. The present work is the first approach to the study of the microbiological biodeterioration of this artistic material, which can seriously affect the appearance and integrity of works of art when bad conservation conditions -especially high humidity levels- take place. 12 microorganisms, fungi and bacteria, came from collection and from oil paintings affected by biodeterioration patterns, were inoculated on test specimens prepared with varnish dammar. These were incubated and analyzed by GC-MS to determine both the microbiological capacity of growth and chemical alteration on the resin. Some of the studied microorganisms have shown patterns of deterioration similar to those found in works dedicated to natural or accelerated photochemical ageing of triterpenoid varnishes.