Biological oxidation of sulfur compounds in artificially degraded wood

Albelda Berenguer, Magdalena (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland) ; Monachon, Mathilde (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland) ; Jacquet, Clémentine (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland) ; Junier, Pilar (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland) ; Rémazeilles, Céline (University of La Rochelle, France) ; Schofield, Eleanor J. (The Mary Rose Trust, Portsmouth (UK)) ; Edith, Joseph (HE-Arc Conservation-restauration, HES-SO Haute Ecole Spécialisée de Suisse occidentale)

Marine and lacustrine archaeological aterlogged wood encounters serious problems after xcavation due to the accumulation of sulfur and iron compounds during burial. Exposure of these compounds to oxygen results in precipitation of salts and acidification, which can lead to serious structural damage, and ultimately the loss of important cultural heritage. In this study, we evaluated the capacity of the bacterium hiobacillus denitrificans to transform sulfur compounds commonly found in waterlogged wooden objects, to more readily extractable compounds thereby eliminating the threat of degradation. Oak samples, impregnated with a solution containing iron(II) and sulfides, were used to assess the efficiency of the bacterial treatment. The model wood samples were characterized before and after treatment using different techniques such as ESEM-EDS, micro-Raman spectroscopy, XRD and Sy-XRF mapping. Before treatment, mackinawite (FeS) and mineral sulfur (α-S8) were detected in the impregnated wood. After treatment with T. denitrificans, even though some mineral sulfur remained in the samples, the predominant phase corresponded to oxidized sulfur. This demonstrates that T. denitrificans was able to use the reduced sulfur compounds present in the wood samples as an energy source, thereby producing more soluble oxidized sulfur compounds. In addition, non-invasive techniques such as Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, were carried out to assess the consequences of the biological treatment on the wood structure. No negative effect on the wood was detected after the treatment in comparison with the referenceimpregnated wood. This study demonstrates the feasibility of a biotechnological procedure for the preventive extraction of sulfur species from archaeological waterlogged wood.

Article Type:
Design et Arts visuels
Unité de recherche en Conservation-restauration de la Haute Ecole Arc - UR-ARC CR
Conservation - restauration
Published in:
International biodeterioration & biodegradation
Numeration (vol. no.):
To be published
Appears in Collection:

Note: The file is under embargo until: 2020-07-01

 Record created 2019-04-17, last modified 2019-05-08

Biological oxydation of sulfur compounds - Download fulltextPDF
2018_Biological oxydation - Download fulltextPDF
Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)