Materials and Structures

, 51:158 | Cite as

Secondary bioreceptivity of granite: effect of salt weathering on subaerial biofilm growth

  • Daniel Vázquez-Nion
  • Federica Troiano
  • Patricia Sanmartín
  • Chiara Valagussa
  • Francesca Cappitelli
  • Beatriz Prieto
Original Article


Salt crystallisation is a very common and powerful weathering agent that can modify the petrophysical properties of building stone such as granite. In addition, the weathering can affect the susceptibility of the stone to biological colonisation. The aims of the present study were to examine the properties of a granite weathered by sodium chloride crystallisation and to evaluate the effects of the weathering on the secondary bioreceptivity of the stone to subaerial phototrophic biofilms. For this purpose, granite samples were subjected to a laboratory-based accelerated salt weathering test, and changes in weight, open porosity, bulk density, capillary water content, abrasion pH and surface roughness of the samples were determined. Samples of both weathered and non-weathered granite were then inoculated with a multi-species phototrophic culture derived from a natural subaerial biofilm and incubated under standardised laboratory conditions for 3 months. The weight loss produced by the weathering process was consistent with significant changes in abrasion pH and surface roughness. The bioreceptivity of the stone was also altered. According to the bioreceptivity index, the granite under study was characterised by ‘mild primary bioreceptivity’, but ‘high secondary bioreceptivity’ after the salt weathering process. Study of the secondary bioreceptivity of stone materials can provide very useful information about response to weathering effects, and the findings can be used to improve the selection of materials for building purposes.


Cultural heritage Phototrophic biofilm Sodium chloride Stone 



This study was partly financed through the Project CGL2016-79778-R (AEI/FEDER, UE). D. Vázquez-Nion was financially supported by postdoctoral Contract ED481B/2017/016 (Xunta de Galicia). P. Sanmartín was financially supported by postdoctoral Contract POS-B/2016/030 (Xunta de Galicia).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© RILEM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Edafoloxía e Química Agrícola, Facultade de FarmaciaUniversidade de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze per gli Alimenti, la Nutrizione e l’Ambiente (DeFENS)Università degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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