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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2014 Jan;98(2):907-18. doi: 10.1007/s00253-013-4906-x. Epub 2013 May 1.

The effect of corrosion inhibitors on microbial communities associated with corrosion in a model flow cell system.

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Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, 73019, USA,


A model flow cell system was designed to investigate pitting corrosion in pipelines associated with microbial communities. A microbial inoculum producing copious amounts of H₂S was enriched from an oil pipeline biofilm sample. Reservoirs containing a nutrient solution and the microbial inoculum were pumped continuously through six flow cells containing mild steel corrosion coupons. Two cells received corrosion inhibitor "A", two received corrosion inhibitor "B", and two ("untreated") received no additional chemicals. Coupons were removed after 1 month and analyzed for corrosion profiles and biofilm microbial communities. Coupons from replicate cells showed a high degree of similarity in pitting parameters and in microbial community profiles, as determined by 16S rRNA gene sequence libraries but differed with treatment regimen, suggesting that the corrosion inhibitors differentially affected microbial species. Viable microbial biomass values were more than 10-fold higher for coupons from flow cells treated with corrosion inhibitors than for coupons from untreated flow cells. The total number of pits >10 mils diameter and maximum pitting rate were significantly correlated with each other and the total number of pits with the estimated abundance of sequences classified as Desulfomicrobium. The maximum pitting rate was significantly correlated with the sum of the estimated abundance of Desulfomicrobium plus Clostridiales, and with the sum of the estimated abundance of Desulfomicrobium plus Betaproteobacteria. The lack of significant correlation with the estimated abundance of Deltaproteobacteria suggests not all Deltaproteobacteria species contribute equally to microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) and that it is not sufficient to target one bacterial group when monitoring for MIC.

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