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Microbial Community Investigation Associated with Corrosion Failures of Submarine Seawater Piping

Paper No. 47
J.L. Wood1, A.E. Franks1, W.C Neil 2 – 1Applied Environmental Microbiology, Department of Physiology, La Trobe University, Bundoora 3086, VIC Australia, 2Defence Science and Technology Group, Fishermans Bend 3207, VIC Australia


Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) refers to the dramatically accelerated rates of corrosion/degradation caused by naturally occurring microbial populations and affects a wide range of materials. MIC has been detected within the seawater piping systems of submarines. The ability to track the specific microbial communities involved in the MIC of these piping systems would allow for evaluation of the current methods of antifouling/antimicrobial protection used across the fleet as well as development of targeted mitigation strategies.

Use of a next-generation sequencing approach to determine microorganisms and microbial activities associated with MIC in submarine piping systems was investigated. Water samples from within the previously MIC-affected piping systems (collected and stored by DST Group) were compared to associated port-water communities, port-sediment communities and communities from unaffected piping systems to identify bacterial and fungal taxa associated with MIC attack and determine the source of MIC-associated organisms. Predictive metagenomic profiling will be used to investigate the relationship between community structure and community function and identify microbial functions that are potential targets for future mitigation strategies.