Biofilm formation and stainless steel corrosion analysis of Leptothrix discophora

C. Thyssen, D. Holuscha, J. Kuhn, F. Walter, W. Fürbeth, W. Sand

Advanced Materials Research 1130 (2015) 79-82; DOI: 10.4028/


Bioleaching and biocorrosion are based on similar biochemical processes. Microbe-surface interaction, biofilm formation and concomitant extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) production gained increasing interest in the past decades. Nowadays it is generally accepted that biofilm formation and an accompanying formation of manganese oxides by manganese oxidizing bacteria such as Leptothrix spp. account for one type of pitting corrosion of stainless steel (SS). However, little is known about biofilm formation, EPS composition of manganese oxidizing microorganisms and their influence on microbiologically influenced corrosion. Consequently, we studied biofilm formation of Leptothrix discophora, the biooxidation of manganese in biofilms on floating filters as well as biofilm formation on stainless steel and the involved corrosion processes. Cells were visualized by epifluorescence (EFM) or confocal laser scanning –microscopy (CLSM). Additionally, the influence of biofilm formation and biooxidation of manganese by L. discophora on the open circuit potential (OCP) and pitting potential (Epit) of stainless steel was measured using a 3 electrode setup. L. discophora grew well in biofilms on floating filters and on SS coupons and incorporated in both conditions Mn2+ in the form of MnO2 from the bulk phase into the biofilm. OCP measurements of actively manganese-oxidizing biofilms on stainless steel showed a significant ennoblement of ≥200 mV.

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