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Corrosion problem solved by DNA analysis

In order to identify new environmentally friendly methods for limiting microbially induced corrosion (MIC), and to avoid health problems related to bacterial contamination of metal surfaces, we require a better understanding of how biofilms are formed.

Bacterial growth on materials can lead to a number of problems, including health issues when MIC comes into contact with metallic materials in the drinking water system.

Collaboration with microbiologists

The French Corrosion Institute, a subsidiary of RISE, has been collaborating with microbiologists for a number of years to analyse the properties of the bacteria involved in MIC. This involves combining the use of the most advanced DNA and RNA sequencing techniques with high-resolution imaging. In the interests of obtaining a better understanding of the exact characteristics of these bacteria and how they behave during corrosive processes, a doctoral thesis is currently being written in the field at the French Corrosion Institute.

Opportunities to limit bacterial growth

The work thus far conducted has led to a characterisation of bacterial communities forming on stainless steel in seawater. This work makes it possible to design alternative restrictive methods to replace the chlorination used so widely today, for example in cooling units, which is also associated with environmental problems.

In parallel with this, various projects using equally advanced techniques have been conducted to investigate the risks associated with microbial growth on metal surfaces or new coatings on drinking water systems. These studies have helped the choice of materials and surface coatings with optimal corrosion performance and minimal bacterial growth.