Eco-friendly Remediation of Lampenflora on Speleothems in Tropical Karst Caves
Journal of caves and karst studies
This paper presents an experiment on lampenflora removal in show caves located in a tropical monsoon climate in southeast Asia. Lampenflora thrive in wet conditions on surfaces directly illuminated by white light. They colonize different levels in show caves, from the cave ceiling, with a biota characterized of mainly cyanobacteria (Oscillatoria, Spirulina), algae (Chlorella, Oedoclarium), and mosses (Cyathodium, Thuidium), to near the cave floor, with a more complex biota including higher
... cluding higher plants like ferns (Asplenium) and flowering plants (Centella). Mature lampenflora mats also harbor non-phototrophic fungi and bacteria. With the use of environmental scanning electron microscopy, speleothem surfaces were found severely damaged by lampenflora and their associates. In this study, we used H 2 O 2 as an environmentally friendly chemical to exterminate lampenflora. The applied solution should be at least 15% H 2 O 2 to efficiently destroy microbiota such as green algae, diatoms, and bacteria. For a complex community including mosses, fungi, and vascular plants, repeated spraying of chemical and, if possible, water jet washing at carefully selected places are required to recover the aesthetic characteristics of speleothems. Only a combination of such cleaning practices, and then some modification of the illumination regime, can minimize lampenflora development in show caves.