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Corrosion-inhibiting Coatings Containing 'Good' Bacteria

Date:
April 3, 2009
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
A new, environmentally friendly coating that protects metals against corrosion in seawater has been developed by a team of researchers from England. They recently described how they had encapsulated spores from a bacterium into a sol-gel coating which then protected an aluminium alloy from microbial corrosion.
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Microbially-influenced corrosion of metals at sea is a big safety and financial problem caused by the production of damaging substances such as hydrogen sulphide by sulphate-reducing micro-organisms within biofilms on the surfaces.
Credit: iStockphoto/Jan Rihak

A new, environmentally friendly coating that protects metals against corrosion in seawater has been developed by a team of researchers from Sheffield Hallam University.

At the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Harrogate March 30, Jeanette Gittens and colleagues described how they had encapsulated spores from a bacterium into a sol-gel coating which then protected an aluminium alloy from microbial corrosion.

Microbially-influenced corrosion (MIC) of metals at sea is a big safety and financial problem caused by the production of damaging substances such as hydrogen sulphide by sulphate-reducing micro-organisms within biofilms on the surfaces. Overall it is estimated that corrosion costs the UK around 3-4% of GDP. Existing anti-corrosion treatments are costly, ineffective and often include biocides and inhibitors that are toxic to aquatic life.

The corrosion-preventing bacteria occur naturally in the environment. Incorporating its spores into the coating did not seem to affect their viability – living cells were still found in the coating after more than six weeks in seawater. The coating could also be heat cured at temperatures up to 90°C.

Speaking at the meeting, Ms Gittens said, "Our results from laboratory studies and a field trial in the Thames estuary have shown that the bacteria-containing coating is substantially more effective in the prevention of corrosion than the sol-only coating. We are investigating what causes the corrosion protection – we think it might be due to the immobilized bacteria producing antimicrobial agents which inhibit the growth of corrosion-causing microorganisms."

Additional trials are now planned or in progress in a variety of marine environments.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Society for General Microbiology. "Corrosion-inhibiting Coatings Containing 'Good' Bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090329205443.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2009, April 3). Corrosion-inhibiting Coatings Containing 'Good' Bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090329205443.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Corrosion-inhibiting Coatings Containing 'Good' Bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090329205443.htm (accessed July 1, 2015).

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