Reference Type: Journal Article
Record Number: 4
Author: Mansfeld, Florian
Year: 2007
Title: The interaction of bacteria and metal surfaces
Journal: Electrochimica Acta
Volume: 52
Issue: 27
Pages: 7670-7680
Date: 2007-08
Short Title: The interaction of bacteria and metal surfaces
Label: De Schamphelaire Liesje
Keywords: Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC)
Corrosion inhibition
Bacterial battery
Microbial fuel cell
Abstract: This review discusses different examples for the interaction of bacteria and metal
surfaces based on work reported previously by various authors and work performed by the author
with colleagues at other institutions and with his graduate students at CEEL. Traditionally it has
been assumed that the interaction of bacteria with metal surfaces always causes increased
corrosion rates ("microbiologically influenced corrosion" (MIC)). However, more recently it has
been observed that many bacteria can reduce corrosion rates of different metals and alloys in
many corrosive environments. For example, it has been found that certain strains of Shewanella
can prevent pitting of Al 2024 in artificial seawater, tarnishing of brass and rusting of mild steel.
It has been observed that corrosion started again when the biofilm was killed by adding
antibiotics. The mechanism of corrosion protection seems to be different for different bacteria
since it has been found that the corrosion potential Ecorr became more negative in the presence
of Shewanella ana and algae, but more positive in the presence of Bacillus subtilis. These
findings have been used in an initial study of the bacterial battery in which Shewanella
oneidensis MR-1 was added to a cell containing Al 2024 and Cu in a growth medium. It was
found that the power output of this cell continuously increased with time. In the microbial fuel
cell (MFC) bacteria oxidize the fuel and transfer electrons directly to the anode. In initial studies
EIS has been used to characterize the anode, cathode and membrane properties for different
operating conditions of a MFC that contained Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. Cell voltage (V)--
current density (i) curves were obtained using potentiodynamic sweeps. The current output of a
MFC has been monitored for different experimental conditions.
Notes: MIC (microbially induced corrosion) is a phenomenon which is already quite well
known. MICI (microbially induced corrosion inhibition) or the fact that the presence of bacteria
can inhibit corrosion is a rather unknown phenomenon. The authors review some experiments
regarding these phenomena with the focus on electrochemical parameters such as corrosion
potential and corrosion resistance. They interestingly see that during the course of this MICI
phenomenon, bacteria can shift the open circuit potential of the electrode to either higher or
lower potentials, depending on the bacterial species. The authors made use of this phenomenon
to increase the cell voltage from a galvanic (chemical) cell by adding different bacterial species
to anode and cathode compartment. They furthermore used the bacterial properties to construct a
microbial fuel cell. These are however clearly the first steps of electrochemists in the MFC field:
there is nothing new to their MFC or their results with it. The observations of the authors
regarding the separate electrodes can however have implications for a bacterial oxygen reducing
cathode. In our lab, the bacterial biofilm is clearly shifting the open circuit potential of the
cathode to higher values and promoting the oxygen reduction. Another type of bacterial biofilm
can however result in exactly the opposite effect. This might be one of the reasons to explain
why the bacterial cathode is so hard to develop.

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