, Volume 96, Issue 7, pp 863–868 | Cite as

Impact of biocide treatments on the bacterial communities of the Lascaux Cave

  • Fabiola Bastian
  • Claude Alabouvette
  • Valme Jurado
  • Cesareo Saiz-JimenezEmail author


The Lascaux Cave contains a remarkable set of paintings from the Upper Palaeolithic. Shortly after discovery in 1940, the cave was modified for public viewing and, in 2001, was invaded by a Fusarium solani species complex. Benzalkonium chloride was used from 2001 to 2004 to eliminate the fungal outbreak. In this study, we carried out a sampling in most of the cave halls and galleries. Sequence analysis and isolation methods detected that the most abundant genera of bacteria were Ralstonia and Pseudomonas. We suggest that, as a result of years of benzalkonium chloride treatments, the indigenous microbial community has been replaced by microbial populations selected by biocide application.


Benzalkonium chloride Ralstonia spp. Pseudomonas spp. Lascaux Cave 



The first author and the research project “Microbiology-Microclimate” were supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, France. Authors acknowledge support from the Ministry of Culture and Communication and from project CGL2006-07424/BOS, Spain. This is a TCP CSD2007-00058 paper. The collaboration of the Lascaux restoration team is highly appreciated. We thank Marisa Chelius for valuable comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabiola Bastian
    • 1
  • Claude Alabouvette
    • 1
  • Valme Jurado
    • 2
  • Cesareo Saiz-Jimenez
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.UMR Microbiologie du Sol et de l’EnvironnementINRA-Université de BourgogneDijon CedexFrance
  2. 2.Instituto de Recursos Naturales y AgrobiologiaSevilleSpain

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