In this issue

Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 3

Microbial Biodeterioration and Biodegradation

Vertical Transmission

This is my first Vertical Transmission posting as the new President of our Society, after having served as the Vice-President Scientific Affairs since 2014. I would like to thank the Executive Committee and the ASM Council for being confident in my abilities to serve in this important role. I thank Roy Robins-Browne for the wonderful leadership he provided over the last two years, and I am grateful that he will continue to support and guide me and the ASM over the coming year.

Vertical Transmission from Russia

The Russian Microbiological Society has had a long and complicated history, reflecting the recent history of our country. It was established in 1957, in the Soviet Union, as the All-Union Microbiological Society and in the mid-80s comprised more than 5000 members. Several distinguished Russian microbiologists were its Presidents: the last one was Professor Elena Kondrat'eva, famous for her investigations of bacterial photosynthesis. However, the Society did not survive all the changes of the 90s, and, in spite of an attempt to revive it ...

Microbial biodeterioration and biodegradation

Microorganisms including bacteria and fungi can use a wide variety of organic compounds as their carbon and energy sources and exploit numerous options as electron acceptors facilitating their ability to live in diverse environments. Such microbial biodegradative activities can result in the bioremediation of polluted sites or cause biodeterioration. Biodegradation and biodeterioration are closely related processes, and they often involve the same organisms, processes and materials.

Biodegradation of emerging pollutants: focus on pharmaceuticals

A priority environmental problem is pollution and disturbance of natural environments by emerging pollutants ‒ substances of various origins and structures and with known and/or potential ecotoxic effects. One of the most dangerous groups of emerging pollutants is pharmaceutical substances due to their highly stable chemical structure and pronounced biological activity. They are found in soil, bottom sediments, surface, sewage, groundwater and drinking water. Uncontrolled release of pharmaceuticals in open ecosystems is potentially dange...

New thermophilic prokaryotes with hydrolytic activities

Thermophilic microorganisms are capable of growing on polymeric substrates and have been intensively studied for their enzymes, thermostable hydrolases (glycosidases, proteinases, lipases), which have important applications in many fields of bioindustry: production of detergents, food processing, paper and textile industry, biofuel formation from organic wastes, etc.1. The advantages of thermostable enzymes application are in their higher stability not only against temperature, but also against high or low pH, presence of detergents,...

Microbiotechnologies for steroid production

Structural modification of steroids by microorganisms, known since the 1950s, is nowadays a base for industrial production of many steroid hormones and their high-value precursors. Phytosterols, renewable biomaterials of plant origin, are recognised now as most attractive, low-cost and available raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry.

Biocorrosion of materials and sick building syndrome

The problem of biological damage of mineral building materials and structures based on them is multifaceted and covers all types of industry. The most destructive biocorrosion impacts are on building materials in cities with a large water area. Various types of microorganisms, including pathogens, and especially the filamentous fungi of the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, Trichoderma, etc., occupy the surfaces of mineral building materials, cause their destruction, disturb the ecological balance of cities and endanger the ...

Hydrocarbon- and metal-polluted soil bioremediation: progress and challenges

The problem of soil contamination with petroleum hydrocarbons and heavy metals is becoming particularly acute for large oil-producing countries, like the Russian Federation. Both hydrocarbon and metal contaminants impact negatively the soil biota and human health, thus requiring efficient methods for their detoxification and elimination. Bioremediation of soil co-contaminated with hydrocarbon and metal pollutants is complicated by the fact that, although the two components must be treated differently, they mutually affect the overall removal ef...

Biotechnological perspectives of microorganisms isolated from the Polar Regions

Polar permanently frozen grounds cover more than 20% of the earth's surface, and about 60% of the Russian territories are permafrost. In the permafrost environments, the combination of low temperature and poor availability of liquid water make these habitats extremely inhospitable for life. To date, both culture-dependent and culture-independent methods have shown that permafrost is a habitat for microorganisms of all three domains: Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya. An overview of applying psychrophilic and psychrotolerant bac...

The role of non-spore-forming actinobacteria in cleaning up sites contaminated by persistent pollutants and the ability of these microorganisms to survive under unfavourable conditions

Years of research has shown that actinobacteria, including Rhodococcus, Gordonia, Arthrobacter, Microbacteria, play an important role in cleaning up sites contaminated by persistent organic pollutants. Under special conditions, actinobacteria of different genera are able to form specific forms, cyst-like resting cells (CLC), which maintain the viability during long-term storage (for at least 5–6 years, our unpublished results). These cells quickly germinate when conditions become favourable for growth. ...

Is nitrite from nitrification the only cause of microbiologically induced chloramine decay?

Nitrite, produced by ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB), was traditionally thought to be the only cause of microbiologically mediated decay of chloramine. The development and application of microbial decay factor method and bacterial community studies, for the first time have revealed many other factors such as soluble microbial products (SMPs) and bacteria other than AOB mediating the decay of chloramine.

Extrinsic allergic alveolitis-causing actinomycetes in indoor and farm environments

Suspended airborne particles, of biological origin, can constitute bioaerosols1,2 and they can be of different origin ranging from farm environments dealing with hay, sugar cane, tobacco, mushroom and cotton to refuse disposal sites to military equipment test chambers. These bioaerosols might carry allergenic and pathogenic agents like viruses, spore forming bacteria and fungi, excreta of insects and mites, moss and fern spores, algal and plant cells; enzymes, antibiotics, end...

Mixed community biofilms and microbially influenced corrosion

Metals are used in most marine infrastructures for energy extraction and production. Metal corrosion is a serious concern, due to the environmental, safety, and replacement costs associated with it. Microbially influenced corrosion (MIC) contributes to the overall corrosion process, through several chemical, electrochemical and biochemical mechanisms, particularly in the presence of microbial biofilms. In this short article, we discuss briefly recent advances in MIC research, comparing corrosion in single species and mixed species biofilms, and...

Thiocyanate biodegradation: harnessing microbial metabolism for mine remediation

Thiocyanate (SCN) forms in the reaction between cyanide (CN) and reduced sulfur species, e.g. in gold ore processing and coal-coking wastewater streams, where it is present at millimolar (mM) concentrations1. Thiocyanate is also present naturally at nM to µM concentrations in uncontaminated aquatic environments2. Although less toxic than its precursor CN, SCN can harm plants and animals at higher concentrations3, and thus needs to b...

Activated sludge foaming: can phage therapy provide a control strategy?

Foaming in activated sludge systems is a global problem leading to environmental, cosmetic and operational problems. Proliferation of filamentous hydrophobic bacteria (including the Mycolata) are responsible for the stabilisation of foams. Currently no reliable methods exist to control these. Reducing the levels of the filamentous bacteria with bacteriophages below the threshold supporting foaming is an attractive approach to control their impact. We have isolated 88 bacteriophages that target members of the foaming Mycolata. These double stran...

Microbiologically influenced corrosion in floating production systems

Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) represents a serious and challenging problem in Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSOs), one of the most common type of offshore oil production facilities in Australia. Microorganisms can attach to metal surfaces, which under certain conditions, can result in corrosion rates in excess of 10 mm per year (mmpy) leading to equipment failure before their expected lifetime. Particularly, increasing water cut (ratio of water vs. total fluids produced), normally resulting from the age o...

Development of a laboratory test for microbial involvement in accelerated low water corrosion

Microbially influenced corrosion (MIC) is a general term for when microbes affect material corrosion processes. The rapid corrosion that can occur due to MIC can cause significant dangers and costs for owners of relevant assets in relation to predicting structural safety, design of new structures and maintenance. Verification and/or prediction that a structure may be subject to MIC is not straightforward and, when metal surfaces are involved, it requires a series of metallurgical, microbiological and chemical tests. A useful part of this testin...

Report from ASM 2018

ASM Summer Student Research Awards: 2018

Vale Associate Professor Sylvia Mary Kirov

Members of ASM will be saddened to hear of the recent death of Associate Professor Sylvia Kirov.

Volume 39 Number 3

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