The Corrosion of Iron and Steel


IN NATURE of May 14, Dr. J. Newton Friend alludes to Gallionella ferruginea as obtaining its life's energy by oxidising ferrous carbonate and organic ferrous salts, causing the precipitation of rust, or ferric hydroxide. May I point out that Gallionella ferruginea can live and grow well without any iron at all, and so cannot be a vital factor in the metabolism of the bacterium, using the term “bacterium” in its widest sense? The oxidation which takes place can be simply explained by the fact that ferrous carbonate in solution is very unstable, becoming very rapidly oxidised.

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MACFADYEN, W. The Corrosion of Iron and Steel. Nature 78, 55 (1908).

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