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The Ecology of Acidophilic Microorganisms in the Corroding Concrete Sewer Environment

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Concrete corrosion is one of the most significant problems affecting valuable sewer

    infrastructure on a global scale. This problem occurs in the aerobic zone of the sewer,

    where a layer of surface corrosion develops on the exposed concrete and the surface

    pH is typically lowered from around 11–10 (pristine concrete) to pH 2–4. Acidophilic

    microorganisms become established as biofilms within the concrete corrosion layer

    and enhance the loss of concrete mass. Until recently, the acidophilic community

    was considered to comprise relatively few species of microorganisms, however, the

    biodiversity of the corrosion community is now recognized as being extensive and

    varying from different sewer environmental conditions. The diversity of acidophiles in the

    corrosion communities includes chemolithoautotrophs, chemolithoheterotrophs, and

    chemoorganoheterotrophs. The activity of these microorganisms is strongly affected

    by H2S levels in the sewer gas phase, although CO2, organic matter, and iron in

    the corrosion layer influence this acidic ecosystem. This paper briefly presents the

    conditions within the sewer that lead to the development of concrete corrosion in

    that environment. The review focuses on the acidophilic microorganisms detected in

    sewer corrosion environments, and then summarizes their proposed functions and

    physiology, especially in relation to the corrosion process. To our knowledge, this is the

    first review of acidophilic corrosion microbial communities, in which, the ecology and the

    environmental conditions (when available) are considered. Ecological studies of sewer

    corrosion are limited, however, where possible, we summarize the important metabolic

    functions of the different acidophilic species detected in sewer concrete corrosion layers.

    It is evident that microbial functions in the acidic sewer corrosion environment can be

    linked to those occurring in the analogous acidic environments of acid mine drainage

    and bioleaching.

UOW Authors


  •   Li, Xuan (external author)
  •   Kappler, Ulrike (external author)
  •   Jiang, Guangming
  •   Bond, Philip (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Li, X., Kappler, U., Jiang, G. & Bond, P. L. (2017). The Ecology of Acidophilic Microorganisms in the Corroding Concrete Sewer Environment. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8 683-1-683-16.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85018356716

Start Page


  • 683-1

End Page


  • 683-16

Volume


  • 8

Place Of Publication


  • Switzerland

Abstract


  • Concrete corrosion is one of the most significant problems affecting valuable sewer

    infrastructure on a global scale. This problem occurs in the aerobic zone of the sewer,

    where a layer of surface corrosion develops on the exposed concrete and the surface

    pH is typically lowered from around 11–10 (pristine concrete) to pH 2–4. Acidophilic

    microorganisms become established as biofilms within the concrete corrosion layer

    and enhance the loss of concrete mass. Until recently, the acidophilic community

    was considered to comprise relatively few species of microorganisms, however, the

    biodiversity of the corrosion community is now recognized as being extensive and

    varying from different sewer environmental conditions. The diversity of acidophiles in the

    corrosion communities includes chemolithoautotrophs, chemolithoheterotrophs, and

    chemoorganoheterotrophs. The activity of these microorganisms is strongly affected

    by H2S levels in the sewer gas phase, although CO2, organic matter, and iron in

    the corrosion layer influence this acidic ecosystem. This paper briefly presents the

    conditions within the sewer that lead to the development of concrete corrosion in

    that environment. The review focuses on the acidophilic microorganisms detected in

    sewer corrosion environments, and then summarizes their proposed functions and

    physiology, especially in relation to the corrosion process. To our knowledge, this is the

    first review of acidophilic corrosion microbial communities, in which, the ecology and the

    environmental conditions (when available) are considered. Ecological studies of sewer

    corrosion are limited, however, where possible, we summarize the important metabolic

    functions of the different acidophilic species detected in sewer concrete corrosion layers.

    It is evident that microbial functions in the acidic sewer corrosion environment can be

    linked to those occurring in the analogous acidic environments of acid mine drainage

    and bioleaching.

UOW Authors


  •   Li, Xuan (external author)
  •   Kappler, Ulrike (external author)
  •   Jiang, Guangming
  •   Bond, Philip (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Li, X., Kappler, U., Jiang, G. & Bond, P. L. (2017). The Ecology of Acidophilic Microorganisms in the Corroding Concrete Sewer Environment. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8 683-1-683-16.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85018356716

Start Page


  • 683-1

End Page


  • 683-16

Volume


  • 8

Place Of Publication


  • Switzerland