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Microbiological Corrosion


Development of Methods Both for Microbiological Detection of Stress Corrosion Cracking of Pipelines and Its Prophylaxis

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-IND/Industrial Biotechnology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-MIB/Microbiology/Biotechnology

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Nietzold D

Leading Institute
State Research Center for Applied Microbiology, Russia, Moscow reg., Obolensk


  • Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), USA, IL, Argonne\nMyongji University / Research Institute for Clean Technology, Korea, Yongin City\nUniversity of Tennessee / Center for Environmental Biotechnology, USA, TN, Knoxville

Project summary

It is known that transportation of natural gas and oil as well as their processing usually result in problems associated with stress corrosion cracking of gas- and oil-pipes. The ecological and economic impact of such damage is great and increases year after year. However, despite that a lot of investigations are carried out in this field, causes and mechanisms of stress corrosion of steel pipes have not clearly recognized and understood yet. This prevents the effective identification of stress corrosion and its prophylaxis. At present, it is clear that one of the causes responsible for stress corrosion may be the aggressiveness of pipe environments.

In this regard, of particular interest is the study of factors causing environmental aggressiveness. Results from the research can be applied to the development of complex methods that will enable to detect corrosion-affected sites preventing thus possible accidental situations.

Soils and grounds are natural environments for pipelines. In soils, they are aggressively attacked by microorganisms, which mainly determine the chemical composition of soils by releasing a great number of organic and inorganic acids, alkali, gases and other metabolites during their growth. At present, investigations on the role of soil microorganisms in the initiation and development of stress corrosion are at the opening stage, and their results are rather contradictory. Therefore, the study of their role will allow the development of methods for detecting sites of emergency as well as to protect them from corrosion. The certain results have been already obtained during the implementation of Project #119-95 ISTC "Development of biotechnology techniques for elimination of environmental oil pollutions".

Thus, the objective of the new Project has been defined by great practical and theoretical value of the research on stress corrosion as well as by the fact that microorganisms can play a crucial role in such corrosion. The objective of the Project is the development of methods for microbiological identifying and preventing stress corrosion damages of gas and oil pipelines.

The following tasks will be pursued:

1. Comparative microbiological and chemical analyses of specimens taken from environments of stress-corroded and control pipelines.
2. Simulation of stress corrosion damage of pipe steel followed by the study of the role of biofilms in the initiation and development of stress-corrosion.
3. Study of biodestruction of pipe insulating coatings by microbial associations isolated from different soils. A comparative analysis of different insulating coatings in respect of their resistance to a microbial attack and development of methods to improve it.
4. Development of methods for identifying stress corrosion damage on the basis of microbiological and chemical parameters.
5. Development of complex methods for preventing pipelines against stress corrosion.

The following results are expected: role of different microbiological and chemical factors in corrosive activity of the environment will be studied; the role of biofilms in and the effect of chemical composition of environments on the initiation and development of the corrosion process will be investigated. The study of pipe protective coatings will promote the development of methods to improve their biotolerance. Based on laboratory and field data, microbiological methods for identifying corrosion-affected sites will be developed. Complex methods for preventing corrosion-associated accidents will be offered.

All the investigations address ISTC’s objectives and provide former weapons scientists opportunities to redirect their activities to the solution of basic and applied problems existing in oil and gas exploration industry. Besides, the Project promotes their integration into the international scientific community.

Potential role of foreigh collaborators:

- scientific information exchange;
- methodical and advisory assistance;
- joint field research.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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