Assessment of Mysterious Fungi Colonization in a Climate- Controlled National Repository Collections Environment
Katherine Anne V. De Leon, Alyssa Gayle G. Garcia, Ian Istvan A. Infante, Trisha Nicole Ann A. Manzano and Llyrha Mae M. Capio
Biochemistry Department, College of Allied Sciences, De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute, City of Dasmarinas, Cavite, Philippines 4114
Pieces of art stored in repositories and display rooms are subject to fungal colonization that leads to biodeterioration processes. When fungal growth develops in the heritage collections, it threatens the heritage preservation and occupational health of the museum staff. Hence, this study aimed to assess the mysterious fungal colonization on preserved cultural artifacts inside the climate-controlled environment. Morphological, physicochemical and molecular techniques were used to characterize the fungi inhabiting the heritages collections. A total of 60 samples were obtained. However, only 38 reported to have fungal colonization, and of the 38, only 15 were sequenced. Molecular identification of fungal strains isolated were closely related to Aspergillus clavatus, Penicillium oxalicum, Fusarium sp. Aspergillus sp. 1, Aspergillus sp. 2 and Xyllariae family. All 38 isolates tested positive for cellulase and acid production tests, about 34% of the isolates turned positive for the polyphenol oxidase test, and about 32% turned positive for both the pigment production test and the casein test. Many species isolated belonged to fungal species that are known to cause pulmonary diseases and aspergillosis. The stoneware-based collection is the most resistant to fungal colonization that has cellulolytic activity. This work surges the knowledge of the fungal diversity that inhabits heritage collections, and it provides valuable information to develop strategies to conserve, maintain and protect these invaluable objects.
Keywords: Mysterious fungi, biodeterioration, colonization, heritage collections,