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Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 12, Issue 3–5, pp 379–384 | Cite as

Effect of photosynthesis on pH variation in cyanobacterial biofilms from Roman catacombs

  • P. Albertano
  • L. Bruno
  • D. D'Ottavi
  • D. Moscone
  • G. Palleschi
Article

Abstract

Cyanobacterial biofilms present on stone surfaces inRoman hypogea were studied with the aim of assessingtheir deteriogenic activity on the colonisedsubstrata. In order to achieve this, non-destructivemethods were developed and applied to measure pHvariation induced via photosynthesis and respirationin representative cyanobacteria from Roman catacombs.Amperometric and potentiometric microsensors were alsoused on Scytonema biofilms in culture in orderto measure photosynthesis and assess pH decreases andincreases during dark–light periods. Measurementsof pH showed that, starting with values slightly belowneutral, the pH in Scytonema biofilms increasedby 0.24–0.77 units in the transition from dark to1000 μmol photon m-2 s-1 irradiance.Comparison of photosynthesis and pH curves recordedsimultaneously on the same artificial biofilm showeda maximum increase in pH value at irradiances higherthan those saturating photosynthesis. Alkalinisationof the substrate during illumination occurred to asufficient extent to induce precipitation of mineralcompounds, especially on calcareous substrates such asthose present in Roman hypogea.

cyanobacterial biofilms Scytonema mineral biodeterioration pH microelectrodes damage diagnosis 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Albertano
    • 1
  • L. Bruno
    • 1
  • D. D'Ottavi
    • 2
  • D. Moscone
    • 2
  • G. Palleschi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Rome `Tor Vergata'RomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Chemical Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of Rome `Tor Vergata'RomeItaly

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