, 65:18 | Cite as

Study of the euendolithic activity of black meristematic fungi isolated from a marble statue in the Quirinale Palace’s Gardens in Rome, Italy

  • Filomena De LeoEmail author
  • Federica Antonelli
  • Anna Maria Pietrini
  • Sandra Ricci
  • Clara Urzì
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Bioerosion: An interdisciplinary approach


The present study analyzed the dark patina present on the surface of a marble statue exposed in the Gardens of the Quirinal Palace in Rome, with a special focus on euendolithic black meristematic fungi. The study of the spatial distribution of microorganisms and their identification were performed by using a multistep approach based on microscopy, cultural analyses, molecular techniques, and embedding resin-casting technique. Black meristematic fungi were observed in the patina. Since morphological features are not sufficient to identify fungi belonging to this group, cultural and molecular analyses were performed. The results highlighted the presence of the species Coniosporium apollinis and of strains related to the genus Knufia (order of Chaetothyriales). The resin-casting embedding technique demonstrated the active penetration of these fungi into the marble grains, thus documenting their true endolithic behavior. The involvement of phototrophic microorganisms present on the surface in the active penetration of the marble was excluded.


Resin embedding-casting technique Bioerosion Euendolithic fungi MCF Coniosporium apollinis Knufia 



The authors wish to thank Prof. Stjepko Golubić, an anonymous reviewer, and Dr. Max Wisshak, Guest Editor of the Facies Special Issue Bioerosion: An interdisciplinary approach, for their precious corrections and suggestions. We also thank Mrs. Sherron Collins for her careful revision of the English text. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Innovation of Biological Systems, Food and Forestry (DIBAF)Tuscia UniversityViterboItaly
  3. 3.Biology LaboratoryISCR, Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione e per il Restauro (ISCR)RomeItaly

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