Irina FIERASCU1 / Romulus DIMA2 / Radu Claudiu FIERASCU1
(1The National Institute for Research & Development in Chemistry and Petrochemistry – ICECHIM, Bucharest, Romania / 2University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania

Abstract: Cultural heritage artefacts (by organic nature – leather, wood, bones, ivory, antler, etc., by inorganic nature, as stone, metals, glass or clay or composite organic/inorganic artefacts, such as some pigments or other combination of organic/inorganic materials) belong to the world heritage, and their welfare should concern everyone (archaeologists, museum curators or scientists from other areas).
Fungi are found all over in nature, and can cause undesirable effects on both organic and inorganic materials. Once infected the artefacts, the fungus will grow using as food the substrate or even airborne particles (depending on the type of artefact). Biodegradation of the artefacts can often lead to irreversible effects.
The use of antifungal natural extracts was always a viable alternative to the use of harmful chemicals (that often affects the rest of the environment or even human health). For example, nettle or olive leaf extracts are used since ancient times as antifungals.
This paper presents the obtaining and characterization of natural extracts with antifungal potential. The plants used are native in Romania (Paeonia males, Allium ursinum, Ocimum basilicum or Calendula officinalis), and extraction methods used solvents as little as possible toxic (water, ethanol/water mixture) and different extraction conditions. Extracts were characterized using analytical techniques (UV-Vis and FTIR spectroscopy, HPLC) and in terms of antifungal potential (using the diluted inoculum technique). The results obtained are promising, allowing us to hope for a natural extracts based recipe for the removal and prevention of biodeterioration of the artefacts.

Acknowledgements: The results presented in this work were funded by the Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development 2007-2013 of the Romanian Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection through the Financial Agreement  POSDRU/89/1.5/S/52432. The authors wish to thank their colleagues Sorin Avramescu and Sanda Doncea for their analytic help.

Keywords: Natural extracts, characterization, biodeterioration