Application of molecular techniques for the assessment of microorganism diversity on cultural heritage objects
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As a result of their unpredictable ability to adapt to varying environmental conditions, microorganisms inhabit different types of biological niches on Earth. Owing to the key role of microorganisms in many biogeochemical processes, trends in modern microbiology emphasize the need to know and understand the structure and function of complex microbial communities. This is particularly important if the strategy relates to microbial communities that cause biodeterioration of materials that constitute our cultural heritage. Until recently, the detection and identification of microorganisms inhabiting objects of cultural value was based only on cultivation-dependent methods. In spite of many advantages, these methods provide limited information because they identify only viable organisms capable of growth under standard laboratory conditions. However, in order to carry out proper conservation and renovation, it is necessary to know the complete composition of microbial communities and their activity. This paper presents and characterizes modern techniques such as genetic fingerprinting and clone library construction for the assessment of microbial diversity based on molecular biology. Molecular methods represent a favourable alternative to culture dependent methods and make it possible to assess the biodiversity of microorganisms inhabiting technical materials and cultural heritage objects.
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