SRB – Sulfur Reducing Bacteria

In some sea waters one can find sulphur- or sulphate-reducing organisms. These anaerobic sulfate-reducing bacteria are one of the oldest organisms in the world, more than 3 billion years old. These bacteria occur in high concentrations in the deep sea, around so-called black or white smokers. Or technically, the smokers are called hydrothermal vents. Please note the picture below.

Black smoker

Black Smoker. Copyright picture National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organisation.

Black hot water flows out of these openings from the ground, which is heated by volcanic springs. The temperatures of this water can reach up to 500° Celsius. The seawater surrounding the smoker has mostly only 2°C. Since there is a lot of sulphur in the water, the bacteria can find a lot of food, develop and survive.
Bacteria that survive under such conditions, near a black smoker and in the deep sea, must be very resistant. One can therefore imagine why it is so difficult to treat these bacteria with classical water treatment methods.


Where are these sulfate-reducing bacteria found?

Sulfur Reducing Bacteria 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.
Such an industrial cycle is for instance, the produced water in the oil and gas industry.
The SRB are anaerobe bacteria, means they don’t need oxygen, to exist and multiple. They live on sulfur. In technical environment SRB are feared, as they destabilize steel in pipeline or other metallic surface. SRB reduce the sulfur in the steel structure, and producing H2S or SO4. Both makes the steel weaker, brittle and lead to pitting corrosion.
Merus is able to fight MIC Microbiological Induced Corrosion. Further Merus reduce corrosion in pipes and systems, where a lot of  sulfur reducing bacteria are present.


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