SRB – Sulfur Reducing Bacteria

In some regions of the world, SRB, i.e. sulfur- or sulfate-reducing organisms, are found in seawater. These SRB originate from hydrothermal vents and are among the oldest organisms in the world. It is estimated that they have lived on Earth for more than 3 billion years. They occur in high concentrations in the deep sea, in the so-called black or white smokers. Please see the photo below.

Black smoker

Black Smoker. Copyright picture National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organisation.

Here very hot black water comes out of the ground, heated by volcanic springs. The water coming from the vent can reach up tp 500° Celsius. the seawater surrounding the smoker hast mostly 2°C. The minerals that are released form vents. This hot water contains a lot of sulfur, which serves as food for microorganisms. Living in these inhospitable conditions, like near a black smoker, make the SRB very resistant. With thermal sanitation or classic chemical water treatment, it is very difficult to deal with the bacteria.

Where are these sulfate-reducing bacteria found?

Sulfur Reducing Bacteria are widely found in the oil and gas industry. In the so-called produced water, i.e. water that comes out of the well together with the crude oil, this is to be seen as very critical. In some parts of the world, these bacteria are even found in well water.are found in sea water and sometimes in well water. There they cant do not much harm. But when the SRB enter an industrial cycle, it is very difficult to control them and even more difficult to get rid of them.
The SRB are anaerobic bacteria, i.e. they do not require oxygen to exist and multiply. They live on sulfur. In the technical environment, SRB are feared because they destabilize even high-quality steel in pipelines or other metallic surfaces. In simple terms, SRB reduce the sulfur in the steel structure and produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S) or sulfuric acid (SO4). Both acids weaken the steel, making it brittle and ultimately leading to pitting.

Merus Rings reduce SRB-Corrosion

In technical environments, i.e. pipes, tanks and machines, we are able to help with our special Bio Merus rings. Microbiologically induced corrosion MIC is reduced and we also keep sulfur-reducing bacteria under control. Again, avoiding biofilm is the key to success. This is because SRB also like to settle in biofilm. If this is removed, the SRB also become fewer and less dangerous because they then flow along with the liquid.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website and to improve the relevance of our communications with you. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the merusonline website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings or find detailed information about how cookies are used on this website by going to 'Data protection'.