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Microbiological and environmental issues in show caves
- Saiz-Jimenez, Cesareo
- World journal of microbiology & biotechnology 2012 v.28 no.7 pp. 2453-2464
- caves, human health, microorganisms, tourism
- Cultural tourism expanded in the last half of the twentieth century, and the interest of visitors has come to include caves containing archaeological remains. Some show caves attracted mass tourism, and economical interests prevailed over conservation, which led to a deterioration of the subterranean environment and the rock art. The presence and the role of microorganisms in caves is a topic that is often ignored in cave management. Knowledge of the colonisation patterns, the dispersion mechanisms, and the effect on human health and, when present, over rock art paintings of these microorganisms is of the utmost importance. In this review the most recent advances in the study of microorganisms in caves are presented, together with the environmental implications of the findings.