Hydrogen sulfide oxidation by microbes present on concrete surfaces of sewer pipes is a key process in sewer corrosion. The growth of aerobic sulfur oxidizing bacteria from corroded concrete surfaces was studied in a batch reactor. Samples of corrosion products, containing sulfur oxidizing bacteria, were suspended in aqueous solution at pH similar to that of corroded concrete. Hydrogen sulfide was supplied to the reactor to provide the source of reduced sulfur. The removal of hydrogen sulfide and oxygen was monitored. The utilization rates of both hydrogen sulfide and oxygen suggested exponential bacterial growth with median growth rates of 1.25 d(-1) and 1.33 d(-1) as determined from the utilization rates of hydrogen sulfide and oxygen, respectively. Elemental sulfur was found to be the immediate product of the hydrogen sulfide oxidation. When exponential growth had been achieved, the addition of hydrogen sulfide was terminated leading to elemental sulfur oxidation. The ratio of consumed sulfur to consumed oxygen suggested that sulfuric acid was the ultimate oxidation product. To the knowledge of the authors, this is the first study to determine the growth rate of bacteria involved in concrete corrosion with hydrogen sulfide as source of reduced sulfur.
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