Inhibiting mild steel corrosion from sulfate-reducing bacteria using antimicrobial-producing biofilms in Three-Mile-Island process water

R. Zuo, D. Örnek, B. C. Syrett, R. M. Green, C. H. Hsu, F. B. Mansfeld, T. K. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Biofilms were used to produce gramicidin S (a cyclic decapeptide) to inhibit corrosion-causing, sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). In laboratory studies these biofilms protected mild steel 1010 continuously from corrosion in the aggressive, cooling service water of the AmerGen Three-Mile-Island (TMI) nuclear plant, which was augmented with reference SRB. The growth of both reference SRB (Gram-positive Desulfosporosinus orientis and Gram-negative Desulfovibrio vulgaris) was shown to be inhibited by supernatants of the gramicidin-S-producing bacteria as well as by purified gramicidin S. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and mass loss measurements showed that the protective biofilms decreased the corrosion rate of mild steel by 2- to 10-fold when challenged with the natural SRB of the TMI process water supplemented with D. orientis or D. vulgaris. The relative corrosion inhibition efficiency was 50-90% in continuous reactors, compared to a biofilm control which did not produce the antimicrobial gramicidin S. Scanning electron microscope and reactor images also revealed that SRB attack was thwarted by protective biofilms that secrete gramicidin S. A consortium of beneficial bacteria (GGPST consortium, producing gramicidin S and other antimicrobials) also protected the mild steel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-283
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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