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

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Abstract

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 We suggest that, as a result of years of benzalkonium chloride treatments, the indigenous microbial community has been replaced by microbial populations selected by biocide application.

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Acknowledgements

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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Correspondence to Cesareo Saiz-Jimenez.

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Bastian, F., Alabouvette, C., Jurado, V. et al. Impact of biocide treatments on the bacterial communities of the Lascaux Cave. Naturwissenschaften 96, 863–868 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-009-0540-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-009-0540-y

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