European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Biocontamination survey for Microbially Influenced Corrosion exposure TEST

Project description

A novel setup will speed development of counter-measures to microbe colonisation in fuel tanks

Securing a reliable energy supply is one of our most pressing challenges. Liquid fuels are and will continue to be a vital component of the energy mixture. Microbially induced corrosion at the hydrocarbon–water interface throughout the liquid fuel infrastructure from production to storage and handling is a costly problem. Currently, there is no way to investigate biocontamination and antimicrobials’ action under industrially relevant conditions. The EU-funded MICTEST project is addressing the issue of this missing technology. The team are developing new biocontamination exposure and assessment protocols for lab-scale testing and validation of materials, coatings and components for aircraft fuel systems with the goal of introducing standardisation in the industry.


Microbially influenced corrosion (MIC) is a costly problem caused by microorganism growing in the hydrocarbon-water interphase, affecting fuel production and processing equipment, fuel storage tanks, fuel handling systems and other infrastructure. Anti-microbial and/or antibiofilm materials and coatings are promising solution to passively control bio-contamination by preventing the adherence and growth of species to surrounding surfaces. However, methods for assessing antimicrobial materials under industrially-relevant environments are still missing. Studies defining real bio-contamination and key parameters are fundamental.

MICTEST will develop new bio-contamination exposure protocols for lab-scale validation of materials, coatings and components for aircraft fuel systems. MICTEST will be focused on: i) performing an exhaustive sampling of contaminated fuels and materials, ii) defining representative core microbiomes of microorganisms isolated from real samples, iii) determining key parameters mimicking real environments, iv) selecting representatives coatings, materials and components, and v) proposing the most appropriate combination of technologies for assessing antimicrobial/antibiofilm properties correlated with material degradation, coating performance and the potential effects on fuel properties. Different protocols will be developed and adapted to fuel type, material and environmental conditions that are representative of the bio-contamination developed in real scenarios.

The added value of the new protocols will be demonstrated by performing validation studies in a list of materials (metallic elements, coatings, polymers) in 25L pilot tanks in climatic chambers for comparing the biofilms obtained following the new methods, current methods and the ones using real contaminated fuel samples.

A final document including all the sections of international guidelines will be presented to IATA to explore the possibilities for standardization.


Net EU contribution
€ 316 782,50
08225 Terrassa

See on map

Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 316 782,50

Participants (1)