Microbial corrosion of metals: The corrosion microbiome.

TitleMicrobial corrosion of metals: The corrosion microbiome.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsLekbach Y, Liu T, Li Y, Moradi M, Dou W, Xu D, Smith JA, Lovley DR
JournalAdv Microb Physiol
Date Published2021
KeywordsCorrosion, Electron Transport, Metals, Microbiota, Oxidation-Reduction

Microbially catalyzed corrosion of metals is a substantial economic concern. Aerobic microbes primarily enhance Fe oxidation through indirect mechanisms and their impact appears to be limited compared to anaerobic microbes. Several anaerobic mechanisms are known to accelerate Fe oxidation. Microbes can consume H abiotically generated from the oxidation of Fe. Microbial H removal makes continued Fe oxidation more thermodynamically favorable. Extracellular hydrogenases further accelerate Fe oxidation. Organic electron shuttles such as flavins, phenazines, and possibly humic substances may replace H as the electron carrier between Fe and cells. Direct Fe-to-microbe electron transfer is also possible. Which of these anaerobic mechanisms predominates in model pure culture isolates is typically poorly documented because of a lack of functional genetic studies. Microbial mechanisms for Fe oxidation may also apply to some other metals. An ultimate goal of microbial metal corrosion research is to develop molecular tools to diagnose the occurrence, mechanisms, and rates of metal corrosion to guide the implementation of the most effective mitigation strategies. A systems biology approach that includes innovative isolation and characterization methods, as well as functional genomic investigations, will be required in order to identify the diagnostic features to be gleaned from meta-omic analysis of corroding materials. A better understanding of microbial metal corrosion mechanisms is expected to lead to new corrosion mitigation strategies. The understanding of the corrosion microbiome is clearly in its infancy, but interdisciplinary electrochemical, microbiological, and molecular tools are available to make rapid progress in this field.

Alternate JournalAdv Microb Physiol
PubMed ID34147188