Carbon steel (SAE 1018) samples were exposed to complex liquid media containing either the aerobic bacterium Pseudomonas fragi or the facultative anaerobe Escherichia coli DH5α. Compared to sterile controls, mass loss was consistently 2- to 10-fold lower: in the presence of these bacteria which produce a protective biofilm. Increasing the temperature from 23°C to 30°C resulted in a 2- to 5-fold decrease in corrosion inhibition with P. fragi whereas the same shift in temperature resulted in a 2-fold increase in corrosion inhibition with E. coli DH5α. Corrosion observed with non-biofilm-forming Streptomyces lividans TK24 was similar to that observed in sterile media. A dead biofilm, generated in situ by adding kanamycin to an established biofilm, did not protect the metal (corrosion rates were comparable to those in the sterile control) and mass loss in cell-free, spent Luria-Bertani (LB) medium was similar to that in sterile medium. Confocal laser scanning microscopy analysis confirmed the presence of a biofilm consisting of live and dead cells embedded in a sparse glycocalyx matrix. Mass-loss measurements were consistent with microscopic observations of the metal surface after 2 weeks of exposure, indicating that uniform corrosion occurred. The biofilm was also able to withstand mild agitation (60 rpm), provided that sufficient time was given for its development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology