Published: Jan 2003
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UNCONTROLLED MICROBIAL CONTAMINATION in fuels and fuel systems causes biodeterioration problems that translate into substantial economic loss. Biodeterioration's adverse economic effects constitute one cost of quality category. Microbial contamination problems are sometimes difficult to diagnose, and require the expertise of a microbiologist experienced in biodeterioration. Often, however, well informed stakeholders can recognize microbial contamination and take effective action to control it. Consequently, if all personnel involved with fuel and fuel system stewardship have a general understanding of fuel microbiology, they will be better prepared to reduce the costs of quality caused by biodeterioration. This chapter provides an overview of microbiology fundamentals pertinent to understanding fuel and fuel system biodeterioration. It opens with an explanation of the microorganisms likely to inhabit fuel systems, and then reviews their primary activities. The next section explains how air, water-content, temperature and other key variables affect biological activity. The final section provides an overview of fuel system microbial ecology.
President, Biodeterioration Control Associates, Inc., Princeton, NJ