A Multidisciplinary Approach in Examining the Susceptibility to Microbial Attack of Polyacrylic and Polyurethane Resins Used in Art Restoration
Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct 3;23(19):11725. doi: 10.3390/ijms231911725.
The synthetic polymers used to protect artworks from deterioration process can be colonized by the fungi and bacteria responsible for the biodeterioration process. In this study, the susceptibility of synthetic polyacrylics and polyurethane resins to microorganisms (Aspergillus niger ATCC 9642, Aureobasidium pullulans ATCC 15233, Chaetomium globosum ATCC 6205, Cladosporium cladosporioides ATCC 16022, Alternaria alternata BC01, Penicillium citrinum LS1 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 9027) was investigated. The microbial attack was simulated alone and with a biocide and the related growth was observed up to 21 days for bacteria and 28 days for fungi. The polyacrylic and polyurethane resins were subjected to microbial attack, regardless of the biocide treatment, with a fungal growth from 60% to the complete coverage of the plate surface. Penicillium citrinum showed the greatest adaptation ability and was found in all the examined resins. P. aeruginosa was visible in all the different resins, regardless of the presence of biocide. An environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) revealed the presence of fungal conidia and hyphae in the inoculated resins and the Fourier transform IR spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR) indicated chemical transformations in the IR spectra, particularly the hydrolysis of esters, with some differences between the polyacrylic and polyurethane resins, which were probably due to their different chemical features. Overall, our data stress that the chemical, physical and biological deterioration caused by microorganisms capable of degrading synthetic polymers is still a problem in art restoration and that new strategies must be considered to counteract this phenomenon.