Biological susceptibility of earth plasters: The influence of relative humidity on fungal growth

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Akadémiai Kiadó

All building materials can be affected by microbiological agents during their lifecycle. The presence of microorganisms changes the appearance of the surface, degrading it, and they can even cause health problems to the residents. The biological susceptibility is dependent on the content of nutrient based on organic compounds. Thus one of the most susceptible of those materials are earthen construction materials. The degree of fungal growth is influenced by the chemical composition and plant fibres additives as well as the external conditions such as temperature and relative humidity.

The earth plastering mortar has started to gain more attention recently as it is considered to have a low environmental impact and to increase the indoor air quality. Mechanical and physical characteristics of earth materials were studied by a number of authors but the knowledge about the biological resistance of the material is scarce.

This study intends to look into the issue of the biological colonisation of earth plasters depending on the relative humidity. The samples, made of four types of earth plasters with different plant fibres, were placed to an environment of the relative humidity ranging from 33% to 100%. During a period of 4 weeks the extent of fungal growth was observed.

mould, bacteria, humidity, earth plaster, biodegradation