Control of Thiobacillus by means of microbial competition: Implications for corrosion of concrete sewers

N. A. Padival, J. S. Weiss, R. G. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Corrosion of concrete sewers is associated with the biological oxidation of hydrogen sulfide to sulfuric acid by bacteria of the genus Thiobacillus. Inhibition of acid production by these organisms, was investigated by challenging established cultures with a heterotrophic competitor under controlled conditions. Two-organism competition experiments (T. thiooxidans or T. neapolitanus versus the heterotrophic competitor) were conducted in a bench-scale, continuous-flow, constantly stirred tank reactor. Results were sensitive to the influent nitrogen:carbon ratio. Under conditions designed to produce nitrogen-limited growth, the numbers of thiobacilli were reduced 60- to 1 200-fold after introduction of the competitor. Effluent sulfate concentrations, an indicator of acid production, dropped by 85%. Under carbon-limited conditions, modest reductions in thiobacilli cell density and effluent sulfate concentration were observed. Microbial competition reduced acid production under the conditions of the experiment. The results suggest that strategies based on competitive displacement of thiobacilli to inhibit corrosion of concrete sewers may be feasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-205
Number of pages5
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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