1. Biofilm and Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC).

fig1 biofilm

Biofilm is a ubiquitous, substrate-attached microorganism community confined within a self-developed extracellular polymeric matrix that is highly structured and resistant to environmental disturbance [1, 2]. Nearly every species of microorganism (such as microalgae, bacteria, archaea, fungi ...) is able to form biofilm via synergistic adherence to surfaces and to each other. To understand biofilm and mitigate its adverse effects are critical for a wide range of applications ranging from corrosion prevention to infectious diseases treatment [3-5].


It has been long known that microorganism community in the form of biofilm can accelerate the partial reaction rates in corrosion processes and shift the mechanism for corrosion [6-8]. A recent survey reveals that in the United States alone corrosion damage is estimated to cost $276 billion, and the cost of corrosion in other countries generally accounts for 1-5% of the Gross National Product [9]. Although MIC causes 50% of the total cost of corrosion [10], effective prevention and control of MIC are poorly understood. We are studying nanoparticle-microorganism interactions to manage biofilm development and MIC.


[1] Source: The Biofilms Hypertextbook. http://www.erc.montana.edu/biofilmbook/.

[2] Stoodley, P.; Sauer, K.; Davies, D. G.; Costerton, J. W. Biofilms as complex differentiated communities. Annual Review of Microbiology 2002, 56, 187-209.

[3] Costerton, J. W.; Stewart, P. S.; Greenberg, E. P. Bacterial biofilms: A common cause of persistent infections. Science 1999, 284, 1318-1322.

[4] Hall-Stoodley, L.; Costerton, J. W.; Stoodley, P. Bacterial biofilms: From the natural environment to infectious diseases. Nature Reviews Microbiology 2004, 2, 95-108.

[5] Parsek, M. R.; Singh, P. K. Bacterial biofilms: An emerging link to disease pathogenesis. Annual Review of Microbiology 2003, 57, 677-701.

[6] Beech, I. B.; Sunner, J. Biocorrosion: towards understanding interactions between biofilms and metals. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 2004, 15, 181-186.

[7] Beech, I. B.; Sunner, J. A.; Hiraoka, K. Microbe-surface interactions in biofouling and biocorrosion processes. International Microbiology 2005, 8, 157-168.

[8] Lee, A. K.; Newman, D. K. Microbial iron respiration: impacts on corrosion processes. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2003, 62, 134-139.

[9] Little, B. J.; Lee, J. S. Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion; In Wiley Series in Corrosion; Revie, R. W., Ed.; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, New Jersey, 2007.

[10] Fleming, H. C. Economical and technical overview; In Microbially Influenced Corrosion of Materials; Heitz, E., Fleming, H. C., Sand, W., Eds.; Springer-Verlag: New York, 1996, p 6-14.