Controlling biodeterioration of cultural heritage objects with biocides: A review

Mian Adnan Kakakhel, Fasi Wu, Ji Dong Gu, Huyuan Feng, Khadim Shah, Wanfu Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Biodeterioration is when living organisms chemically or physically change or alter the appearance of materials objects. Organisms can colonize and destroy valuable cultural heritage. New advances in biotechnology and applied microbiology provide important information on conserving cultural heritage. Various physical and mechanical methods have previously been used, but they are incapable of preventing the growth of organisms entirely. Organic biocides, particularly commercial formulations, do not last long because they can be utilized as a nutrient source by indigenous microflora after these microflora are exposed to biocides and develop resistance. Therefore, inorganic nanoparticles have a better chance to protect cultural heritage. Silver (Ag2O) and titanium (TiO2) oxides are effective against biofilm, and nanoparticles of zinc oxide (ZnO) are effective antimicrobial agents. This new generation of biocides is much smaller in size and extremely active to damage DNA or RNA. In addition, green biocides from natural sources offer an alternative to chemical ones, having low toxicity compared to chemically synthesized biocides. Future research on biofilm control technologies may contribute to a broader understanding of and new perspectives on a future generation of biocontrol agents and methods with the potential for sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104721
JournalInternational Biodeterioration and Biodegradation
StatePublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Biocide
  • Biodeterioration
  • Cultural heritage
  • Essential oils
  • Nanoparticles


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