Inhibition of microbial colonization of shipboard fuel systems

  • Eric T. Wycislik

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The aim of the investigation was to study the problem of colonization of shipboard fuel systems and to examine the effect of a number of environmental factors on microbial growth and survival in order to find potential preservative
A variety of microbial species were isolated from samples taken from fuel storage tanks. Bacteria were more numerous than yeasts or fungi and most microorganisms were found at the fuel/water interface. 1he salinity, pH and
phosphate concentration of some water bottoms were characteristic of sea water. Others were brackish, acidic and varied in phosphate content.
Microorganisms were cultured under a number of environmental conditions. After prolonged incubation, the inoculum size had no effect on the final biomass of Cladosporium resinae but the time required to achieve the final mass
decreased with increasing spore number. Undecane supported better growth of the fungus than diesel fuel and of four types of diesel fuel, two allowed more profuse growth. With sea water as the aqueous phase, a number of isolates
were inhibited but the addition of nutrients allowed the development of many of the organisms. Agitation increased the growth of C. resinae on glucose but inhibited it on hydrocarbons.
The optimum temperature fgr growth of C. resinae on surface culture lay between 25º C and 30º C and growth was evident at 5º C but not at 45º C. In aqueous suspension, 90% of spores were inactivated in around 60 hours at 45ºC
and the same proportion of spores of C. resinae and Penicillium corylophilum were destroyed after about 30 seconds at 65ºC. The majority of bacteria and all yeasts in a water bottom sample were killed within 10 seconds at this temperature. An increase in the concentration of an organo-boron compound caused more rapid inactivation of C. resinae spores and raising the temperature from 25ºC to 45°C significantly enhanced the potency of the biocide.
Date of AwardJan 1982
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorD. Allsopp (Supervisor)


  • fungi
  • fuel systems
  • sea water
  • filtration
  • growth

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