H Is a Major Intermediate in Corrosion of Iron.

TitleH Is a Major Intermediate in Corrosion of Iron.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsWoodard TL, Ueki T, Lovley DR
Date Published2023 Apr 25
KeywordsCorrosion, Desulfovibrio, Desulfovibrio vulgaris, Hydrogenase, Iron, Lactic Acid, Oxidation-Reduction, Sulfates

Desulfovibrio vulgaris has been a primary pure culture sulfate reducer for developing microbial corrosion concepts. Multiple mechanisms for how it accepts electrons from Fe have been proposed. We investigated Fe oxidation with a mutant of in which hydrogenase genes were deleted. The hydrogenase mutant grew as well as the parental strain with lactate as the electron donor, but unlike the parental strain, it was not able to grow on H. The parental strain reduced sulfate with Fe as the sole electron donor, but the hydrogenase mutant did not. H accumulated over time in Fe cultures of the hydrogenase mutant and sterile controls but not in parental strain cultures. Sulfide stimulated H production in uninoculated controls apparently by both reacting with Fe to generate H and facilitating electron transfer from Fe to H. Parental strain supernatants did not accelerate H production from Fe, ruling out a role for extracellular hydrogenases. Previously proposed electron transfer between Fe and via soluble electron shuttles was not evident. The hydrogenase mutant did not reduce sulfate in the presence of Fe and either riboflavin or anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate, and these potential electron shuttles did not stimulate parental strain sulfate reduction with Fe as the electron donor. The results demonstrate that primarily accepts electrons from Fe via H as an intermediary electron carrier. These findings clarify the interpretation of previous corrosion studies and suggest that H-mediated electron transfer is an important mechanism for iron corrosion under sulfate-reducing conditions. Microbial corrosion of iron in the presence of sulfate-reducing microorganisms is economically significant. There is substantial debate over how microbes accelerate iron corrosion. Tools for genetic manipulation have only been developed for a few Fe(III)-reducing and methanogenic microorganisms known to corrode iron and in each case those microbes were found to accept electrons from Fe via direct electron transfer. However, iron corrosion is often most intense in the presence of sulfate-reducing microbes. The finding that Desulfovibrio vulgaris relies on H to shuttle electrons between Fe and cells revives the concept, developed in some of the earliest studies on microbial corrosion, that sulfate reducers consumption of H is a major microbial corrosion mechanism. The results further emphasize that direct Fe-to-microbe electron transfer has yet to be rigorously demonstrated in sulfate-reducing microbes.

Alternate JournalmBio
PubMed ID36786581
PubMed Central IDPMC10127678