ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, vol.50, no.9, pp.4844-4853, 2016 (SCI-Expanded)
Fuels that biodegrade too easily can exacerbate through-wall pitting corrosion of pipelines and tanks and result in unintentional environmental releases. We tested the biological stability of two emerging naval biofuels (camelina-JP5 and Fischer-Tropsch-F76) and their potential to exacerbate carbon steel corrosion in seawater incubations with and without a hydrocarbon-degrading sulfate-reducing bacterium. The inclusion of sediment or the positive control bacterium in the incubations stimulated a similar pattern of sulfate reduction with different inocula. However, the highest rates of sulfate reduction were found in incubations amended, with camelina-JPS [(57.2 +/- 2.2)-(80.8 +/- 8.1) mu M/day] or its blend with petroleum-JPS (76.7 +/- 2.4 mu M/day). The detection of a suite of metabolites only in the fuel-amended incubations confirmed that alkylated benzene hydrocarbons were metabolized via known anaerobic mechanisms. Most importantly, general (r(2) = 0.73) and pitting (r(2) = 0.69) corrosion were positively correlated with sulfate loss in the incubations. Thus, the anaerobic biodegradation of labile fuel components coupled with sulfate respiration greatly contributed to the biocorrosion of carbon steel. While all fuels were susceptible to anaerobic metabolism, special attention should be given to camelina-JPS biofuel due to its relatively rapid biodegradation. We recommend that this biofuel be used with caution and that whenever possible extended storage periods should be avoided.