Evaluation of biological and enzymatic quorum quencher coating additives to reduce biocorrosion of steel

PLoS One. 2019 May 16;14(5):e0217059. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217059. eCollection 2019.


Microbial colonization can be detrimental to the integrity of metal surfaces and lead to microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). Biocorrosion is a serious problem for aquatic and marine industries in the world. In Minnesota (USA), where this study was conducted, biocorrosion severely affects the maritime transportation industry. The anticorrosion activity of a variety of compounds, including chemical (magnesium peroxide) and biological (surfactin, capsaicin, and gramicidin) molecules were investigated as coating additives. We also evaluated a previously engineered, extremely stable, non-biocidal enzyme known to interfere in bacterial signaling, SsoPox (a quorum quenching lactonase). Experimental steel coupons were submerged in water from the Duluth Superior Harbor (DSH) for 8 weeks in the laboratory. Biocorrosion was evaluated by counting the number and the coverage of corrosion tubercles on coupons and also by ESEM imaging of the coupon surface. Three experimental coating additives significantly reduced the formation of corrosion tubercles: surfactin, magnesium peroxide and the quorum quenching lactonase by 31%, 36% and 50%, respectively. DNA sequence analysis of the V4 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene revealed that these decreases in corrosion were associated with significant changes in the composition of bacterial communities on the steel surfaces. These results demonstrate the potential of highly stable quorum quenching lactonases to provide a reliable, cost-effective method to treat steel structures and prevent biocorrosion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Capsaicin / chemistry
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / chemistry
  • Corrosion
  • Gramicidin / chemistry
  • Lipopeptides / chemistry
  • Magnesium Compounds / chemistry
  • Minnesota
  • Peptides, Cyclic / chemistry
  • Peroxides / chemistry
  • Quorum Sensing*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / metabolism
  • Steel / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties
  • Water Microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Lipopeptides
  • Magnesium Compounds
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Peroxides
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Steel
  • Gramicidin
  • surfactin peptide
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • Capsaicin
  • magnesium peroxide

Grants and funding

This research was supported by funding from the Minnesota Sea Grant Program to REH and SH with additional funding from University of Minnesota MnDRIVE Initiative postdoctoral fellowship grants to REH and ME. https://mndrive.umn.edu/. The work by REH and SH used federal funds under award NA14OAR4170080 from Minnesota Sea Grant, National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA, the Sea Grant College Program, or the U.S. Department of Commerce. This paper is journal reprint No. JR658 of the Minnesota Sea Grant College Program. http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/.