Some microorganisms can cause massive damage through their aggressive metabolic products. Among other things, they can cause corrosion processes and negatively affect the gas quality of storage gases (natural gas, biogas, hydrogen).
To study these metabolic processes, we need living microorganisms. However, atmospheric oxygen is extremely toxic for anaerobic microorganisms, which is why we use special sampling containers and techniques for this purpose.
In our laboratory we investigate whether there is a microbiological problem and, if so, which processes are responsible for the problem. For this purpose we use among others:
Physical-chemical analysis (e.g. pH-value, conductivity, redox potential, ...)
Gas analysis (gas chromatography)
Substance analysis (HPLC)
Microscopy (phase contrast, fluorescence or electron microscopy)
DNA isolation, amplification and analysis.
Typical systems, in which anaerobic microbes are found:
Natural gas storage
Natural gas storage facilities, especially pore storage facilities, provide a natural habitat for a variety of anaerobic microorganisms. They can occur both underground and in the gas storage infrastructure. In the storage facility itself, they are usually unproblematic and can even improve natural gas quality (see biomethanation). In the complex infrastructure of a natural gas storage facility, however, microorganisms can sometimes cause considerable damage. In particular, biologically induced corrosion and dense growth of organisms (biofilm formation) can have serious long-term consequences.
Hydrogen is not only an attractive energy carrier for us - a large number of microorganisms also use the gas as a valuable energy source. This can lead to massive losses in gas quality and corrosion damage to the plants. Especially when hydrogen is stored underground (cavern storage), hydrogen-consuming microorganisms can easily be introduced.
Microscopic organisms can also colonize oil and water hydraulic systems and cause massive damage here. A large number of the organisms can clog and permanently damage the systems in the form of cell aggregates, so-called biofilms.