Question

What is a biofilm and how does it contribute to microbiologically induced corrosion?

Answer
By Peter Macios | Last updated: December 12, 2018

Biofilms are deposits of biological origin that form on surfaces such as the inside walls of pipes, process vessels, storage tanks, condensers and pumps. (Corrosion in process vessels is discussed in Introduction to Managing Internal Corrosion in Process Vessels.) These deposits, commonly referred to as slime, consist of both microbes and their extracellular products. In addition, inorganics such as calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) salts, as well as other organic materials, may be found in these deposits.

Biofilms form because microbes readily attach to surfaces. Microbes realize certain advantages when growing in an attached or “sessile” mode as opposed to growing “planktonically” – that is, free-floating in the bulk water. If conditions are favorable, sessile microorganisms form biofilms.

Biofilms provide a low to no oxygen environment and create conditions that harbor problematic bacteria and microorganisms, including sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) that promote microbiologically induced corrosion (MIC).


Share this Q&A

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Tags

Corrosion Type of Corrosion Corrosive Process Corrosive Substance Characteristic Biological Compounds Corrosion Prevention Failure Water and Wastewater Microbially Influenced Corrosion

Written by Peter Macios | Executive Product Manager of Water Services and Industrial Process at SUEZ Water Technology and Solutions

Profile Picture of Peter Macios

Peter Macios is the Executive Product Manager of Water Services and Industrial Process at SUEZ Water Technology and Solutions. Peter provides strategic direction for product development, portfolio management, and go-to-market strategies ensuring sustainability and growth of this industry leading product line.

More Q&As from our experts

Related Terms

Related Articles

Term of the Day

Adaptive Maintenance

Adaptive maintenance refers to the enforcement of changes in the monitoring, use or other operational details of a metallic...
Read Full Term

Don't miss the latest corrosion content from Corrosionpedia!

Subscribe to our newsletter to get expert advice and top insights on corrosion science, mitigation and prevention. We create world-leading educational content about corrosion and how to preserve the integrity of the world’s infrastructure and assets.

Resources
Go back to top