Scientists from St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg Technological University and the Research Institute of Hydraulic Engineering (RusHydro) have determined which bacteria can cause corrosion of steel structures in the Barents Sea: port, hydraulic structures, oil platforms, etc. The results are published in the scientific journal Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology.

Biocorrosion is a serious problem in the operation of engineering structures in the marine environment. Metals can act as a breeding ground for some sea-dwelling microorganisms. In addition, the waste products of bacteria living on their surface have a destructive effect on structures. Microorganisms are able to form entire communities-biofilms, which are highly resistant to external influences and are able to quickly colonize solid materials in seawater.

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To find a solution to this problem, specialists must have information about which microorganisms cause corrosion.

The authors studied microorganisms that settle on various materials in the coastal zone of the Barents Sea. Scientists applied molecular-genetic and cultural microbiological methods and found out which variants of bacteria that corrode marine structures dominate in the Arctic region.

As part of the study, pure cultures of these microorganisms were obtained. Further, biologists studied their properties by conducting a series of experiments to recreate corrosion processes in the laboratory.

Experiments have shown how quickly each of the strains of bacteria can cause corrosion of steel, as well as what changes occur with metal structures under the influence of microorganisms.

"The results showed that bacterial strains isolated in pure cultures from the coastal zone of the Barents Sea can be attributed to representatives of the corrosive microbial community. As a result of microbial activity, significant changes in the structure and mineral composition of the surface layer of steel were recorded. At the same time, the formation of mineral phases depended on the specific strain of the microorganism, "Dmitry Vlasov, professor at the Department of Botany at St. Petersburg State University, explained to RT.

According to the authors, the results of the study will find practical application: they will allow designers to choose the right anti-corrosion coatings for steel structures in water or change the composition of their base material so that it is less susceptible to bacteria.