Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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Stybio-restoration: microbes for art works

BioeconomyMicrobial biotechnologyNon-toxic productsSelective biocleaningSustainable restoration


Procedure that uses, either alone or in combination, specific non-pathogenic bacteria, immobilized in an easily applicable and removable gel, for the selective cleaning of deposits, even overlapping, without damaging the paint or the constitutive material of artifacts and without leaving residues. The procedure is harmless and selective and is intended to replace toxic and aggressive products.

Technical features

In accordance with the latest principles of sustainability in  restoration strategy, the invention relates to a bio-cleaning procedure to remove coherent deposits of various nature – even stratified- on different types of artworks, by means of bacterial  packs (micro-packs). The bacteria used are spontaneous environmental strains, specifically selected, aerobic, non-pathogenic, conserved in a public microbial collections. The specially prepared laponite gel is a support  that allows the bacterial strains to be immobilized, keeping them in the right moisture conditions, it is easy to apply the micro-pack even on vertical surfaces or ceilings and, at the end of treatment, it is easily removable without leaving any residues. The products are non-toxic. The procedure is selective, does not damage the painted patina or the underlying  noble patina, is extensible to many problems and “tailor-made”  adaptable.

Possible Applications

  • Bio-cleaning of frescoes, murals and easel paintings (canvas and wood), stone material, paper, intaglio plates;
  • Possible extensions: Biodegradation control in substitution of biocidal products for the removal of biological patinas; Bio-consolidation of limestone materials.


  • Viable cells do not require controlled operating conditions, unlike enzymes;
  • No toxic effects for operators;
  • Selective action;
  • Safety for the work of art;
  • Compatibility with constituent material;
  • Environmental compatibility;
  • Sustainable “bio-based” economy.