Microcolonial fungi from antique marbles in Perge/Side/Termessos (Antalya/Turkey)

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In this study rock surfaces of archaeological sites in Antalya were investigated with a focus on black fungi for the first time. Black, meristematic fungi were isolated from surfaces of antique marble monuments in Antalya (Side, Perge, Termessos). Their morphology was characterized, their diversity was documented and the taxonomy and phylogeny of new isolates was clarified based on molecular methods, that is, by sequencing parts of the small ribosomal subunit (18S) and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions. From a total of around 250 samples 99 different fungal strains were isolated. In most of 99 strains the rDNA sequencing data and the lack of homologies in “Genbank” gave strong evidence that these strains have to be described as new species/subspecies and/or genera. All of them, however, clustered within the ascomycete orders of Dothideales, Chaetothyriales, and Pleosporales. Field studies show that these organisms cause color changes, black spots, crater shaped lesions as well as chipping and exfoliation of the rock surfaces in Antalya and thus they have to be regarded as a serious threat to the antique cultural heritage in Turkey.

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