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Biofilms: strategies for metal corrosion inhibition employing microorganisms


Corrosion causes dramatic economic loss. Currently widely used corrosion control strategies have disadvantages of being expensive, subject to environmental restrictions, and sometimes inefficient. Studies show that microbial corrosion inhibition is actually a common phenomenon. The present review summarizes recent progress in this novel strategy: corrosion control using beneficial bacteria biofilms. The possible mechanisms may involve: (1) removal of corrosive agents (such as oxygen) by bacterial physiological activities (e.g., aerobic respiration), (2) growth inhibition of corrosion-causing bacteria by antimicrobials generated within biofilms [e.g., sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) corrosion inhibition by gramicidin S-producing Bacillus brevis biofilm], (3) generation of protective layer by biofilms (e.g., Bacillus licheniformis biofilm produces on aluminum surface a sticky protective layer of γ-polyglutamate). Successful utilization of this novel strategy relies on advances in study at the interface of corrosion engineering and biofilm biology.

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Correspondence to Rongjun Zuo.

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Zuo, R. Biofilms: strategies for metal corrosion inhibition employing microorganisms. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 76, 1245–1253 (2007).

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  • Bacterial biofilm
  • Corrosion control