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Complementary Microorganisms in Highly Corrosive Biofilms from an Offshore Oil Production Facility

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Adrien Vigneron, Professor Ian Head


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Offshore oil production facilities are frequently victims of internal piping corrosion, potentially leading to human and environmental risks and significant economic losses. Microbially influenced corrosion (MIC) is believed to be an important factor in this major problem for the petroleum industry. However, knowledge of the microbial communities and metabolic processes leading to corrosion is still limited. Therefore, the microbial communities from three anaerobic biofilms recovered from the inside of a steel pipe exhibiting high corrosion rates, iron oxide deposits, and substantial amounts of sulfur, which are characteristic of MIC, were analyzed in detail. Bacterial and archaeal community structures were investigated by automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis, multigenic (16S rRNA and functional genes) high-throughput Illumina MiSeq sequencing, and quantitative PCR analysis. The microbial community analysis indicated that bacteria, particularly Desulfovibrio species, dominated the biofilm microbial communities. However, other bacteria, such as Pelobacter, Pseudomonas, and Geotoga, as well as various methanogenic archaea, previously detected in oil facilities were also detected. The microbial taxa and functional genes identified suggested that the biofilm communities harbored the potential for a number of different but complementary metabolic processes and that MIC in oil facilities likely involves a range of microbial metabolisms such as sulfate, iron, and elemental sulfur reduction. Furthermore, extreme corrosion leading to leakage and exposure of the biofilms to the external environment modify the microbial community structure by promoting the growth of aerobic hydrocarbon-degrading organisms.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vigneron A, Alsop EB, Chambers B, Lomans BP, Head IM, Tsesmetzis N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Year: 2016

Volume: 82

Issue: 8

Pages: 2545-2554

Print publication date: 01/04/2016

Online publication date: 19/02/2016

Acceptance date: 11/02/2016

ISSN (print): 0099-2240

ISSN (electronic): 1098-5336

Publisher: American Society for Microbiology


DOI: 10.1128/AEM.03842-15


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