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Degradation and corrosive activities of fungi in a diesel–mild steel–aqueous system


The fungi Aspergillus fumigatus, Hormoconis resinae and Candida silvicola were isolated from the fuel/water interfacial biomass in diesel storage tanks in Brazil. Their corrosive activities on mild steel ASTM A 283-93-C, used in storage tanks for urban diesel, were evaluated after various times of incubation at 30 °C in a modified Bushnell–Haas mineral medium (without chlorides) with diesel oil as sole source of carbon. Their ability to degrade diesel oil was evaluated after growth for 30 and 60 days. The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus and the consortium of all three organisms showed the highest production of biomass; A. fumigatus gave the greatest value for steel weight loss and produced the greatest reduction in pH of the aqueous phase. Solid phase microextraction (SPME) showed that the main acid present in the aqueous phase after 60 days incubation with A. fumigatus was propionic acid. Polarization curves indicated that microbial activity influenced the anodic process, probably by the production of corrosive metabolites, and that this was particularly important in the case of A. fumigatus. This fungus preferentially degraded aliphatic hydrocarbons of chain lengths C11--C13 in the diesel, producing 47.7, 37.5 and 51% reductions in C11, C12 and C13, respectively. It produced more degradation than the consortium after 60 days incubation. It is likely that the presence of other species in the consortium inhibited the growth of A. fumigatus, thus resulting in a lower rate of diesel fuel degradation.

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Correspondence to Christine Claire Gaylarde.

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Menezes Bento, F., Beech, I.B., Gaylarde, C.C. et al. Degradation and corrosive activities of fungi in a diesel–mild steel–aqueous system. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 21, 135–142 (2005).

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