Microbial corrosion of stainless steel

Microbiologia. 1992 Nov;8(2):63-75.


Stainless steel, developed because of their greater resistance to corrosion in different aggressive environments, have proved to be affected, however, by various processes and types of corrosion. Some of these types of corrosion, mainly pitting, is activated and developed in the presence of microorganisms, which acting in an isolated or symbiotic way, according to their adaptation to the environment, create a favorable situation for the corrosion of these steel. The microorganisms that are involved, mainly bacteria of both the aerobic and anaerobic type, modify the environment where the stainless steel is found, creating crevices, differential aeration zones or a more aggressive environment with the presence of metabolites. In these circumstances, a local break of the passive and passivating layer is produced, which is proper to these types of steel and impedes the repassivation that is more favorable to corrosion. In the study and research of these types of microbiologically influenced corrosion are found electrochemical techniques, since corrosion is fundamentally an electrochemical process, and microbiological techniques for the identification, culture, and evaluation of the microorganisms involved in the process, as well as in the laboratory or field study of microorganism-metal pairs. Microstructural characterization studies of stainless steel have also been considered important, since it is known that the microstructure of steel can substantially modify their behavior when faced with corrosion. As for surface analysis studies, it is known that corrosion is a process that is generated on and progresses from the surface. The ways of dealing with microbiologically influenced corrosion must necessarily include biocides, which are not always usable or successful, the design of industrial equipment or components that do not favor the adherence of microorganisms, using microstructures in steel less sensitive to corrosion, or protecting the materials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alloys
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects
  • Corrosion*
  • Electrochemistry
  • Environment
  • Stainless Steel*


  • Alloys
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Stainless Steel