This study was conducted to analyze the methanogen population in a corrosive marine biofilm based on 16S rDNA analysis, using a PCR-cloning-sequencing approach. There were 80 methanogen clones developed from the PCR-amplified DNA extracted from the biofilm on the mild steel surface. All clones were categorized into one of five operational taxonomy units (OTUs). Two OTUs (comprising 57 clones) were affiliated with the acetotrophic Methanosaeta genus; the remaining three OTUs (23 clones) were affiliated with the hydrogenotrophic genera of Methanogenium, Methanoplanus and Methanocalculus. The hydrogenotrophic methanogens could directly cause metal corrosion through cathodic depolarization, whereas the acetotrophic methanogens grew syntrophically with corrosion-causing sulfate-reducing bacteria, as observed by fluorescent in situ hybridization, and thus contribute indirectly to metal corrosion.
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