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Reviewing microbial electrical systems and bacteriophage biocontrol as targeted novel treatments for reducing hydrogen sulfide emissions in urban sewer systems

  • Elizabeth R. Mathews
  • Dean Barnett
  • Steve Petrovski
  • Ashley E. Franks
Review Paper
  • 64 Downloads

Abstract

Microbially induced concrete corrosion (MICC) is a costly, and ongoing problem affecting the infrastructure of water utilities worldwide. Traditionally MICC has been treated with chemicals and physical techniques that inhibit the release of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), preventing sulfuric acid formation and the consequent corrosion. However, these methods require continual dosing and monitoring to ensure process efficiency and prevent undue costs. This review focuses on recent research into two potential novel treatments for MICC: re-engineering the sewer sulfur cycle by removing sulfide using electrodes in microbial electrical systems as an alternative electron acceptor and; altering the microbial community using targeted bacteriophage biocontrol to reduce specific sulfide-producing bacteria. These novel treatments hold the potential to reduce water utilities reliance on continual chemical dosing providing a long-lasting treatment I believe necessitates further laboratory and field-trial investigation.

Keywords

Sewer corrosion Microbially induced concrete corrosion Microbial fuel cell Bacteriophage biocontrol Hydrogen sulfide Sulfate-reducing bacteria 

Abbreviations

ASOB

Acidophilic sulfur-oxidising bacteria

EAM

Electrochemically active microorganism

FNA

Free nitrous acid

H2S

Hydrogen sulfide

MES

Microbial electrical systems

MFC

Microbial fuel cell

MICC

Microbially induced concrete corrosion

SOB

Sulfur-oxidising bacteria

SPB

Sulfide-producing bacteria

SRB

Sulfate-reducing bacteria

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author ERM, acknowledges the financial support of an Australian Postgraduate Award at La Trobe University and additional financial support from industry collaborators Western Water.

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Anatomy and MicrobiologyLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Western WaterSunburyAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Future LandscapesLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Securing Food, Water and Environment Research Focus AreaLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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