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Microbial interactions with silicate glasses



Jamie Weaver, Carolyn Pearce, Robert Koestler, Bruce Arey, Albert Kruger, Paula DePriest, Andrew Plymale


Glass alteration in the presence of microorganisms has been a topic of research for over 150 years. Researchers from a variety of disciplines, including material science, biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and cultural heritage materials preservation have conducted experiments in this area to try and understand when, how, and why microorganism may interact and subsequently influence the alteration of glass. The breadth and depth of these studies are the topic of this review. This review presents a detailed history and a comprehensive overview of this field of research, while maintaining focus on the terrestrial alteration of anthropogenic silicate glasses. Within this manuscript is a schema for bio-interaction with silicate glasses and an outline of an evidence-based hypothesis on how these interactions may influence glass alteration processes. Topics discussed include microbial colonization of glass, development, and interactions of biofilms with glass surface, abiotic vs. biotic alteration processes, and signatures of bio-alteration. Future research needs and a discussion of practical drivers for this research are summarized.
Materials Degradation


glass, microbial alteration, glass alteration


Weaver, J. , Pearce, C. , Koestler, R. , Arey, B. , Kruger, A. , DePriest, P. and Plymale, A. (2021), Microbial interactions with silicate glasses, Materials Degradation, [online],, (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created July 17, 2021, Updated December 16, 2021