Microorganisms (Feb 2021)

Methyl Potassium Siliconate and Siloxane Inhibit the Formation of Multispecies Biofilms on Ceramic Roof Tiles: Efficiency and Comparison of Two Common Water Repellents

  • Mattea Romani,
  • Claire Carrion,
  • Frédéric Fernandez,
  • Philippe Lebaron,
  • Raphaël Lami

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 2
p. 394


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Ceramic roof tiles are widespread marketed building materials, rapidly colonized by microorganisms that form multispecies biofilms on their surface and play crucial roles in biodeterioration processes. Coating tiles with water repellents is a pervasive industrial strategy employed to prevent liquid water penetration and slow biodeterioration. Very few studies have examined the links between the characteristics of water-repellent coatings and biofilm colonization patterns. Our work aims to compare the effects of coating tiles with two common water repellents (siliconate and siloxane) on the growth of colonizing microbes. We combined in situ exposure of tiles for over six years and macroscopic and microscopic observations with in vitro biotests, relying on the use of algal and fungal models. Our data showed that (1) tiles coated with water repellents were macroscopically less colonized by lichens (2) a significant fungal biofilm development at the microscopic scale (3) water repellents had very contrasting effects on our model strains. These data reinforce the great interest for industry to conduct more studies linking the nature of the water repellents with the composition of colonizing multispecies biofilms. The long-term objective is to improve the available water repellents and better adapt their selection to the nature of microbial colonization.