SEAWARD, MARK R.D. Department of Environmental Science, University of Bradford, Bradford BD7 1DP, U.K.. - Lichens as subversive agents of biodeterioration.
Lichens play a major role in shaping the natural world, both
physically and biologically. One such role, as biological agents in
soil development, used to be considered only in a geological context,
but recent research has shown that lichens are capable of
biodeteriorating stone substrata within a relatively short time-scale.
Chemical alteration of the substratum is brought about by the
disruptive action of many species, particularly those capable of
producing oxalate(s) at the thallus-substratum interface. Raman
microscopic analysis has proved invaluable in the interpretation and
characterisation of the physical and chemical nature of this
interface. The oxalate contributes significantly to the bulk and
composition of the thallus itself and persists after the lichen.
Key words: Biodeterioration, Lichens, Oxalates, Raman microscopic analysis