The assumption that time, weather, and pollution are what cause buildings to decline is only partly true. Bacteria are also responsible for the ageing of buildings and monuments – a process known as biodeterioration, where organisms change the properties of materials through their vital activities. Leonila Laiz from the Institute for Natural Resources and Agrobiology in Seville, Spain, and colleagues have just isolated five new strains of bacteria that degrade old buildings. Their work1 is published online this week in Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften.
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